HOME Homily Archives - Year C Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C

Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C
Homily. Readings: Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20; John 17:20-26.


White Stole and Gospel
Readings: Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20; John 17:20-26

Recognizing Christ as united to the Father gives us the hope and strength to persevere in the faith. This recognition founds the unity of his followers (Gospel) and strengthens the persecuted (First Reading). All lives eventually encounter Christ, the Alpha and Omega (Second Reading).

Following Christ doesn´t shield a disciple from troubles, as the protomartyr Stephen discovered (First Reading). Yet the realization that Christ is truly the Son of God, seated next to the Father (First Reading), gives us the assurance and the courage that our sacrifices are not in vain.

Indeed, Christ is the start and finish of every life (Second Reading). It is through him that we, like all creation, came into being. And it is Christ whom we will face at Judgment Day to give an account of our lives. Christ, who underwent his passion and death in obedience to the Father´s will, hence has more than earned the right to stand in judgment of us. But through the shedding of his precious blood, he has equipped us to undergo any temptation, any persecution, and remain faithful to him, just as Stephen did.

"Behold, I am coming soon." More than hyperbole, this passage from the Book of Revelation drives home the realization that life is short, barely the blink of an eye compared to eternity (Second Reading). Whether we live 20, 60 or 100 years, that span will pass quickly; soon we go to Our Lord. The model that Christ gives us on the eve of his own death, as reflected in his priestly prayer at the Last Supper (Gospel), shows us a man serene, charitable and intimately united to his Father. Union with the divine gives Stephen that same kind of serenity. Those of the world "covered their ears" at the mention of the Gospel message, but those of us who listen to Christ will find solace.

The glory that Christ showed to his Father is reflected in a special way by the unity that his followers live among themselves (Gospel). Integration into the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, robs us of nothing. Rather, it brings us to perfection, purifying our motives, channeling our talents and energy, and bracing us to deal with the antagonism of the world. Persecution for the sake of Christ enables us to wash our robes (Second Reading) in the blood of his sacrifice and makes us eligible to enter a heavenly reward. Persecution for Christ´s sake should be a source of joy, not sorrow. The scandal of the cross has its detractions in every age, beginning with Good Friday _ "Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him" (Matthew 27:42).

Catechesis: From the flight into Egypt, to the cross on Calvary, Christ´s life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him (CCC 530). Before his second coming, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many (CCC 675). Great trials perfect the Church, and through her the world (CCC 769).

Witnessing to the faith. The Christian vocation demands personal testimony. Christ without the cross is a myth. Christians without persecution is a myth. Do we stand up at work for our faith? Do we stand up among our neighbors? Or do we give in to human respect?

The pain principle. Avoiding pain and persecution should not be the goal of the Christian´s life. When accepted for Christ´s sake, they are indispensable means for growth in the faith and in holiness. To live is to suffer. Do we offer up the pains and slights of daily life for Christ? Do we accept our crosses with love and offer them back to God for the salvation of souls, especially those of our loved ones?

Suffering with joy. Everyone suffers. What is different for a Christian is that he sees it as a way to share in Christ´s suffering. Hence, suffering can, paradoxically, be a source of joy for one who believes. Do we embrace the crosses of daily life with joy? Do we see them as tools for sanctity _ ours and the souls we pray for?