5th Sunday of Easter (May 22, 2011)

I just returned from a week at home with the folks, and thanks be to God, they are doing as well as can be expected for a pair of 86-year-olders. Dad’s physical and mental health isn’t the best, and Mom’s health is iffy too, but they manage. There’s a certain sweetness to their care for each other. I guess it’s to be expected after 64 years of marriage. It’s the same kind of sweetness I see manifested in the way our benefactors care for Holy Cross.

Did you squirm a tad when I used the word “sweetness” to describe your care for Holy Cross? If so, why? For some, it may not be the most “manly” word to use, but it’s an accurate word. In addition to the usual connotations with sugars, sweetness can also be defined as ” Pleasing to the senses; agreeable; pleasing to the mind or feelings; gratifying; lovable; having a pleasing disposition; kind, gracious.”

Could those words characterize your relationship to Jesus, or his Father? Certainly, they feel (inasmuch as God can have feelings!) an enormous sweetness towards us, and Sunday’s Mass readings reinforce that.

Look at what Jesus says in the Gospel. Peter has just said that he will never betray Jesus, and Jesus responds by saying that before the cock crows, “you will betray me.” And then immediately – immediately – he says the opening words of Sunday’s Gospel: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” In other words, we will sin, we will betray our personal values, we will betray Gospel values, but “do not let your hearts be troubled.” In other words, nothing we do will ever negate God’s love for us. Nothing. There is room for us in the massive heart of Jesus.

Jesus reinforces this message by telling Phillip that “He who sees me sees the Father.” Page after page after page of the Gospels recounts all that Jesus did for us….his whole mission was to show us how deeply his Father and ours loved us and cared for us. No matter what our state of life, no matter how deep our sinfulness, no matter what our past has been, Jesus will live with us, associate with us, eat and drink with us, wash our feet, forgive our sins, raise us to life when our spirits are deadened. The God that you and I grew up knowing through our catechism classes and sermons and so on was a figment of ecclesiastical imagination.

The only people who Jesus jumped on were those who thought themselves better than the rest. But even there the love never left. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I want to gather you to myself like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wing….if only you knew what was before you.”

It’s too good to be true, you say. Yeah…it is….no two ways about it. But that’s the Good News of Jesus Christ!!

Be God’s sweetness for someone today!!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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