The following homily was given by Fr. Herbert Nicholls at the Mother of Light Convent on Thursday, m/ May 24, 2018.
This Gospel which we begin today and read for the next two week (Jn 14-17) is taken from Jesus’ Farewell Discourse at the Last Supper. We might bear this in mind as we hear the first verse: Do not let your hearts be troubled! In a few short hours, Jesus would experience the most troublesome hours of his life.
The Apostles do not really understand what Jesus is saying to them. Thomas exclaims: We do not know where you are going..Jesus responds: I am the Way…He is telling us that He is the only path linking heaven and earth. He is telling us that we reach God the Father by no other route than by following His footsteps.
This short response of Jesus does no more than provide an answer to Thomas’ question. Jesus goes on to say: I am the Truth because He has come to reveal God’s faithfulness to His promise. He says: I am the Life, because through grace He takes us to share His life with the Father.
Anyone can attain understanding of truth and life but we cannot find the way. It must be revealed to us.
If you recall Jesus said to His disciples: Go back to the Upper Room, pray and wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For nine days they gathered with Mary and the other women, where Mary filled them in on things they did not know – like the infancy and adolescence of Jesus.
During this retreat they grew in wisdom and knowledge. When we come to the first reading from Acts, it describes a post-Pentecostal experience. They have been transformed from whimps into spiritual warriors.
The Apostles have emerged from the dark, locked dungeon of self-protection to do what they had been trained to do. St. Like mentions that they were going to the Temple, a very public place to celebrate afternoon prayer as was customary for the Jews.
They would certainly find themselves in a high-profile situation, but they did not manifest any desire to display public attention. They went to pray, to imitate the Lord.
But the presentation of this cripple places them in an embarrassing development. Miracles are not extraordinary actions that occur cassualy or suddenly. Miracles require cooperation in faith. Sometimes it is on the part of the one wishig to be cured, at other times it might be by request. When a miracle occurs it is because of a movement of the Holy Spirit.
This man, crippled from birth, is truly dependent upon divine intervention. Peter initiaties contact by first inviting the man to look at him. Then in the name of Jesus he invites the man to stand up and walk. Peter reaches out, continuing to assist this paralytic, as he struggles to his feet. Suddenly he is standing, walking, leaping and praising God.
Peter’s boldness of power took the religious leaders by surprise. They ordered him to stop preaching and healing. Peter must have thought: if they get so upset about this first miracle, what’s going to happen down the road?
But he affirmed his committement to a higher authority. It was the young John who exclaimed: is it better to obey God or man?
As we struggle to grow in our spirituality, each of us will find cures for our own handicaps. God will make us instruments for bringing healing to others. No it is not easy. All that is within us seems to pull against us, to keep us down. It is our human nature to be imperfect and it is God’s divine nature to be perfect.
So don’t stress…it’s not easy, but it is simple. Let God be God. Let God be perfect. And let yourself be imperfect, but growing.