Sermons

Summary: Our own holiness is proportional to the degree that we make others more holy

Easter Five A

Its Mother’s Day and Pope Francis wrote in his recent teaching document on marriage and family that Mothers often communicate the deepest meaning of religious practice in the first prayers and acts of devotion that their children learn

Without mothers not only would there be no new faithful but the faith itself would lose a good part of its simple and profound warmth.

Our own holiness is proportional to the degree that we make others more holy

e.g. Here is an example of a wife and mother in a little story I was amused to read about the noted pastor and writer Dr. MR Dehaan once told on himself. He said that one morning he and his wife had a disagreement. The disagreement was so sharp that as they ate breakfast he didn’t say anything at all to her. In effect he was giving her the silent treatment. Each morning they had the ritual of reading a devotional from the little magazine Our Daily Bread of which Dehaan was the editor. His wife read the day devotion silently to herself for a moment then taking it and shoving under Dehaans nose she asked, "Are you the man who wrote this?"

Continuing with the theme that our own holiness is proportional to the degree that we make others more holy, Mothers often attempt to build consensus in family arguments because they are often the glue of the family.

In our First Reading, there was a complaint from Hellenists. They were Jewish converts to Christianity from the Jewish faith but they spoke Greek not Hebrew and Aramaic like the other Jewish converts We have evidence going back to the Maccabees in 170 BC that there had long been tension between the Jews who had taken on the language of the Greek world and the more traditional Jews who preferred to speak Hebrew and Aramaic and avoid Hellenist or Greek ways.

So when the Hellenists complained that their widows were being neglected in the distribution of food it may have been partly a prejudice rather than scarcity of resources or maybe the Twelve Apostles were just too busy to oversee the distribution of food.

Speaking of prejudices one daughter said to her mother on Mothers Day, "I love how we don't even need to say out loud that I'm your favorite child."

The Twelve Apostles resolved the problem by creating a new office in the Church by ordaining deacons for the task of distributing food. They were ordained by the laying on of hands.

Lessons for us- There will be cultural diversity among those who follow Christ, consider the word Catholic means universal. The Twelve do not hesitate to restructure the early community to take care of Hellenist widows by creating the diaconate. But, our First Reading says that it was a proposal to do so that the whole community agreed to. We are talking about administration guided by the Spirit consisting of a consensus.

E.g. In his Rule for monks St Benedict advises the abbot to ask the whole community for counsel including the youngest member as well as the guest.

2. Lastly, Mother’s get holy because wanting the eternal salvation of their children. In our Gospel Jesus says I go and prepare a place for you Jesus promises each of us that he will come back at the hour of our death and take us to be with him and the Father forever. Consequently St. Paul writes in 1 Thess 413 do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope but rather have faith in God and what Jesus promises John 14 1 The promises of the Lord are rock-solid because God is faithful I have spoken I will do it Ezekiel 3714

A wise priest once described it this way In heaven, we are filled with the perfection of love as we were able to understand it and live it out on earth Those with greater love on earth will have a greater capacity to be filled with love in heaven.

e.g. A man died and went to heaven He was met at the Pearly Gates by St Peter who led him down the golden streets They passed mansion after beautiful mansion until they came to the end of the street where they stopped in front of a shack The man asked St Peter why he got a hut when there were so many mansions he could live in St Peter replied I did the best with the money you sent us

Our place in heaven is our level of awareness in which we gauge our relation to Divine Presence

Jesus says that He is the way the truth and the life Its of major importance because if we dont go the right way we wont end up in the right place

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