We Must Be Visible to Christ, Our Lord

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Children love to see their parents in the audience when they are performing or when they are competing in some event.  Adults also have this need.  We all gain comfort and security knowing that those we love are near. 

I know we have just completed our immersion in the Passion of Christ and are now celebrating His Easter victory, but let me take you back to the Passion for a few more moments. 

I wonder, what did Jesus see and what did Jesus feel as He looked out onto the crowd as He carried his cross to Calvary?  Was He comforted or was He disheartened?

I have often thought about how great was His suffering and how frustrated He must have been knowing that He was giving up so much to save so many; many of whom did not even care. 

He is God, who for our sake became one of us!  He humbled himself so much!  He, God the Creator, took on the very human nature he created.  Jesus lived among us and shared our challenges and aspirations.  Then as he approached his final days, He experienced pain, suffering, and disappointment.

In the Garden, He had before Him the mental stress of anticipating what was about to happen.  This was so real and so troubling that He actually sweat blood.  Following this mental anguish, He endured the intense physical torture of scourging at the pillar.  Then came the almost overpowering temptation to set his taunters straight when they put that crown of thorns on his head, dressed Him in purple, and insulted his Kingship with mocking adoration.  That must have been hard for Him to take; knowing that He indeed was their true King!

But, imagine his disappointment while carrying the cross.  He had endured the abuse and mocking of those who hated Him, those who did not understand Him.  He was dying for them as well as for those who did know and understand Him. 

But, where were his friends and disciples while He was on this last walk?  Had they been visible, He could have at least gained some comfort from their presence, even if they did nothing to help Him. 

He did not expect them to save Him from this hour, but they could have at least showed up for moral support.  They were nowhere to be found.  How utterly disheartening!

Now, with that background, here we are a week later. 

The apostles, imprisoned by their own fear, have locked themselves in the Upper Room.  They had almost been arrested with Jesus.  They knew the bitterness the Jews had for Jesus, and likely for them as well.  So, they listened fearfully for every step on the stair and for every knock at the door, lest the henchmen of the Sanhedrin should come to arrest them, too.

Onto this scene comes Jesus.  His first words were, “Peace be with you!”  Now, that must have been the one thing that these frightened disciples had the least of.  They had no peace!  They were terrified!


Jesus could have rebuked them for their unfaithfulness and cowardice the previous weekend, but He did not.  He could have said, “Where were you guys when I needed you?  I was overtaken by people who hated me, who tortured and killed me.  You could have at least let me see you so that I could have been assured that hope yet remained alive in your hearts.”

But, there was no rebuke from Jesus.  His greeting was given to dispel fear, not create it.  His words sent a welcome message of forgiveness. 

What Jesus offered his followers was mercy.  What fantastic news this is for us!  In spite of how we also may disappoint and frustrate our Lord, He welcomes us with his peace, his mercy, and his forgiveness. 

After forgiving his disciples, Jesus sent them to preach, teach, and do miraculous signs.  Here was a group of followers that had just abandoned Jesus at his hour of most need; now He entrusts them with a monumental mission.  His confidence in them is overwhelming! 

How is it that He could have confidence that this group could be trusted to do anything?  His belief in the personal goodness of them and in the personal goodness of each one of us is truly amazing!  

Now, there is a secret as to why Jesus could have this seemingly unwarranted confidence.  Yes, Jesus came to them and reassured them; but this alone would probably not have yielded much in the way of performance.  Most important of what He did was: He enabled them through the Holy Spirit. 

It was pretty clear that they could not accomplish this mission on their own.  They needed help!  So, He breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit.  Apart from the filling of the Spirit, they could have done little to advance the mission.  The Spirit had previously dwelt with them in the person of Christ, but now the Spirit would be in them

And so it is with us.  We received the first fruits of the Holy Spirit in Baptism; and then the fullness of the Spirit took up residence in our hearts upon Confirmation.  That is when we became soldiers for Christ and we also were sent.  Our abilities also are now augmented by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In this Easter Season, we celebrate the divine gift of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, as an outpouring of the Risen Christ.  We were born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the Sacrament of Confirmation, and are now sustained by the food of eternal life in the Eucharist.  We have been claimed and strengthened.  Now, each week, at the dismissal rite at the end of mass, we also are sent. 

And as we are sent, let us be seen by Christ.  Let us not be absent!  Let Him not look out and see us missing. 

We need to be present at mass each week.  This is a serious responsibility for Catholics.  The question is not IF we are going to Mass; it is WHICH Mass are we going to? 

We need to be present before Jesus Christ in adoration.  At St. Patrick’s we have 24-hour adoration each month and we are soliciting help to staff a schedule of people to achieve perpetual adoration.  These are special opportunities to give praise and thanks to Our God. 

We need to participate in the life of His Church.  There are many guilds, committees, organizations, and projects that could be better advanced by our participation.  Using our talents to build the Kingdom of God is one of our responsibilities.

The bottom line is: “We must be visible to Christ, Our Lord!”

Now some of you may legitimately challenge me on one of the assertions of my homily by saying, “Wait a minute, I think some of his supporters were visible.  The women were present!  It was the men who were noticeably absent.”  And, I may have to agree.  An outside observer may yet see in the life of the Church today a similar disproportionate presence of women over men.  Therefore, I offer a special invitation to the men of this parish to increase their presence and their contributions. 

Let us go now and live up to the trust and confidence the Lord has in each and every one of us.  As Jesus looks out onto the building of His Kingdom, let Him be comforted by our presence, not disheartened by our absence. 

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