Tears of Gratitude | #1030

Fr. Joel Homilies

Easter, 6th Sunday (A) We know that the work of the Holy Spirit creates the Church, the Priesthood, the Eucharist, and the other sacraments. But the Holy Spirit is also working in this crisis. It is the Holy Spirit that has kept us connected to Jesus and to one another during this time of isolation.

Today, too many couples practice physical intimacy before they learn how to be emotionally and spiritually intimate. They often struggle with these deeper forms of intimacy. In a similar way, a lot of Catholics were prepared to be physically intimate with Jesus, but have not been taught how to be emotionally or spiritually intimate. We have been deprived of physical intimacy with Jesus so we can grow in spiritual and emotional intimacy with Jesus.

Everyone is having a hard time right now. We can get frustrated that things are opening up too slowly, or too quickly. We can feel that people are being too careful or too careless. During this time of crisis, please be kind to people. And please focus on being grateful. As of today, 0.2% of the population of the State of Wisconsin has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and 0.009% of the population has died. Those are big numbers for a disease, but those are small numbers in the overall picture. I’m not saying this to minimize the suffering of those who have been infected. I’m saying that we should be grateful for these numbers.

I haven’t always been grateful for my parish assignment. In August, I will begin serving the three parishes in Antigo, WI. It makes me realize what an incredible blessing it has been to serve you for almost 10 years. The good work that I did here was Jesus in me, and me in Jesus.

Today Jesus promises, “I will not leave you orphans.” Jesus isn’t leaving. He will continue to walk with you and care for you through the hands of other priests.

The vast majority of the ministry that is done in these parishes is not done by me, but by you. You are the ones teaching your children their prayers, encouraging your co-workers, holding the hand of a dying person, being kind to someone who is struggling. You do far more ministry than I do. And your ministry too is Jesus in you, and you in Jesus.

Mother Mary Catherine used to be with the Missionaries of Charity. She once asked Mother Therese, the foundress of the order, “Why do you bow to each of us?” Mother Theresa responded, “I bow to Jesus in you.” What a wonderful reason to be grateful! What a beautiful motive to be kind.

[bows to the congregation]

(17 May 2020)

Going Deeper: How have you grown in spiritual and emotional intimacy with Jesus during these challenging times?