APRIL 10, 2002, HOMILY- Acts 5:17- 26; John :16- 21
GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON THAT THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIM . . . MIGHT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. What God gave through love of human beings was the best and dearest of what he had. This is a conviction that John seeks to impart to his readers in this early chapter of his Gospel. He includes in this same passage several other truths that could be known in no other way save through a special revelation by God, truths that are important still for every member of the human race. The first of these is that the Beloved son whom the Father gives on our behalf is to suffer a painful and humiliating death for our sake. Without this special gift of God=s only son, we would perish: this is another of the revelations made here. In the state in which God finds every person in this world, there is need for redemption from the consequences of sin. The power to effect such a redemption is exclusively God=s prerogative; it is given to Jesus by his Father; indeed, it is inherent in his mission here on earth. No one else can possibly supply what was given in the death of the beloved son, for no one else was found sufficiently pleasing to the Father to effect such a reconciliation.
As John informs us elsewhere, it is essential that we place our trust and our faith in the Lord Jesus, for only those who believe in him have the light needed to walk according to God=s will. We are invited at this Easter season, to reflect at length on the fact that it is from love that our Lord suffered and died and rose to that new life which he intends to share with us. Here at the Eucharist as we enter into communion with the risen Lord, may we be strengthened by the conviction that just as he died and rose for us because he so loves us, so also he comes to us in this sacrament in order to encourage us to return to the Father where he himself is one with him in glory. As he comes into our hearts by faith and in the sacrament, he unites us among ourselves as well. We can display our gratitude to him for his gifts to us, by cooperating with one another in a spirit of community and thus witness to the fruits of his Paschal mystery. Nothing can so enhance our confidence as the confident trust that our Lord himself abides with us and accompanies us on the way as experiencing the reality of his life and love in those who belong to him. In this way may we prepare our hearts to receive him with a lively faith and may we so live our lives this day and always as to be worthy of his love.
Abbot John Eudes Bamberger
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