How All Will Know

Fr. Michael Guastello’s Homily May 19, 2019

“So we continue to celebrate the joy of Easter on this fifth Sunday of Easter and I think the Church is wise to give us a full seven weeks of Easter because we need this extended time to reflect on the Passion, death and resurrection of the Lord on the lessons that he taught, what it means for us, and how that impacts our lives.  We need to spend time basking in the resurrection of Jesus in the glory of his resurrection so that we can absorb all that God wants to communicate to us. Today, we are reminded of the new commandment that Christ gave us the day before he suffered. In our Gospel this weekend we are brought back to the Last Supper when Jesus was gathered with his apostles in the upper room and it was at this gathering that Jesus revealed the distinguishing mark of the Christian.  ‘I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples.’  And this is what attracted some of those early Christians, those who were outside, they would see the Christians, those who call themselves Christians at how they love one another and how they care for one another and how they look out for one another.  You see, being a Christian is more than just being a member of a club, it’s more than being registered at a parish. Being a Christian means being Christ in the world, to be Christ to others, to see Christ in others and to love others as Christ loved. And how did he love?  Well, he loved sacrificially. He loved to the point of laying down his life. He gave his life in order to open the gates of Heaven and win salvation for us. In turn, we are called to imitate Christ in the circumstances of our own lives in the same way, in the same type of sacrificial love and this is especially true when it comes to our vocation.  You know I have an opportunity as a priest to work with a lot of couples who are preparing for marriage. We call it marriage preparation and sometimes I’ll have couples in my office and we’ll be talking and I’ll say, ‘So you must be in love.’ And they’ll kind of look at me, ‘Well yeah Father, of course we’re in love. We’re engaged.’ And I’ll ask them, ‘Well what is love?’ And I get a variety of answers.  ‘Well we have chemistry.’ “Well you know, chemistry can blow up. You put certain chemicals together it can cause an explosion.’ ‘Well you know we have feelings for one another.’ ‘Well okay, but you know feelings can be up and feelings can be down and feelings can be all around. If all you have in feelings, you might be in trouble. How’s this?’ I’ll make this proposal. ‘To love someone, to love your future spouse would be to will the good of that person for his or her sake.  To desire the highest and best thing for that person.’ And I get agreement from that and so I’ll ask them, ‘So what does this mean for you based on that if to love someone is to wish the highest and best thing for them, what is that for you?’ ‘Well, we want to get a house.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘We want to have children.’ ‘Great.’ ‘Provide for one another and our family. Travel places we’ve never been before. Early retirement?’ ‘Okay, what else wat else?’ ‘Well what else is there, Father?’  ‘How about Heaven? If you will the good of your spouse, if you desire the highest and best thing for them, do you desire salvation for him or her? Do you desire Heaven for him or her and are you willing to do whatever it takes to get them there? In other words, will you love your spouse as Christ loves? Are you willing to lay down your life in order to get your spouse to Heaven?’ This is a good question for all married couples to ask themselves. Do you pray with your spouse? Do you pray for your spouse and do you pray, and this isn’t just for married couples, this is really for all of us, do you pray for other people?  You know all throughout scripture we see the importance of prayer. Jesus himself was a man of prayer. We see in James 5:16 ‘Pray for one another that you may be healed.’ St. Paul says in his first letter to Timothy says, ‘First of all, I urge you that prayers be made for all people.’

Today in light of our Gospel is a good day to examine this in our own lives and examine ourselves, am I praying for others?  And if so, am I only praying for my friends and those that I like and those who agree with me or do I pray for those persons who drive me crazy and up the wall and over a clif?  Jesus is very clear. ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ He has commanded us to love one another as he loved and part of this love means praying for others and so I want to invite you during Mass today to really be intentional about praying for someone personally.  Maybe it’s a friend or maybe it’s not a friend. Maybe it’s someone you know that needs prayer or maybe it’s someone that you haven’t thought of for a long time and now this person is now in your mind whether it’s during the consecration during the elevation of the host or the chalice or whether it’s after you’ve received our Lord in Holy Communion I want to encourage you to pray for someone very personally and very intentionally.  You see when we do this sort of thing, we take a beautiful step toward loving one another as Christ has loved us.”