They’ll know of God by our love for one another!
Homily preached May 15, 2022
by Monsignor Michael Deering
They tell the story about the drunk who was driving the wrong way down a one-way street. A cop stops him and asks, “Hey buddy, didn’t you see the arrows?”
And the drunk replied, “Officer, I didn’t even see the Indians!”
It’s a funny example of what it means to be “clueless” about something.
Here the Officer was asking him about seeing “the arrows” on the street sign ...
and he’s thinking about seeing “the arrows” you shoot from a bow!
So, he was “clueless” about what he’d done ... going the wrong way.
It’s not good to be “clueless” ... it could be deadly.
Fortunately, most people liked to be “clued in” on things …
many make it their business to keep up on things, like “the news”
And many play a part in spreading “the news”.
What is it that constitutes news?
The word “news” ... comes from the word ... “new”.
New is an adjective, which means: fresh, additional or different from the past.
News is a noun, which means fresh, additional, or different information of any kind.
“News” can be “good” and it can be “bad”.
For example, you may have read the bad news in the paper Friday about the deadly ending to a nationwide manhunt for an escaped murderer, where after 11 days on the run, he and the female security guard who sprung him from a north Alabama Prison were located at a Motel in Indiana. When they tried to get away, the U.S. Marshalls crashed their car, turning it over on its side. And before could get to them, the security guard shot herself in the head and died. the convict is back in custody.
That’s bad news and sad news ... it’s news we hate to hear about.
The opposite of bad news is good news … it’s news we love to hear about.
For example, St. Luke records in his Gospel how Angels appeared to the Shepherds 2000 years ago to announce the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and spoke these words, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.”
Was that good news? That was very good news … Our Savior had been born to us!
And just five weeks ago, we celebrated Easter Sunday, where
all the Gospels proclaim the News that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead!
Was that good news? That too was especially good news!
In fact that news was so good ...
that the Apostles were motivated to go out and share it with the world!
In our First Reading today from Acts we heard how “Paul and Barnabas … proclaimed the good news to that city & made a considerable number of disciples.”
What was the Good News? It was the News that:
- God had sent a Redeemer to us just as He promised,
- and that Jesus had been victorious over death,
- and that salvation was now available to all people, Jew and Gentile alike!
You see, even though Jesus was a Jew, He didn’t come to save just the Jews.
He came to save all people ... Jew and Gentile alike.
This is really Good News … especially for all of us who are not-Jews,
… that in Jesus Christ, we too, have hope of salvation
for as Paul said, “God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”
And while this is no longer new news to us …
it is the kind of news that should never grow old!
In order for us to appreciate it as Good News, we have to understand
what our future would have looked like prior to the coming of Jesus.
This is where many people are clueless!
They have no idea how futile life was before the Resurrection.
They don’t realize that:
- the Human Race was separated from God by Original Sin of our First Parents.
- The Gates of Heaven were closed; there was no way to have union with God.
So good souls went to the Abode of the Dead … and not to Heaven.
- The Holy Spirit was not in the world to be our Helper and Guide.
So, like the recapture of that criminal, this was serious!
That criminal needed to be returned to prison!
and we needed to be returned to a graced relationship with God!
Which is exactly what Jesus accomplished by coming to us as our Savior!
Through the Paschal Mystery of His Death and Resurrection,
He atoned for the sins of the whole Human Race, He opened the Gates of Heaven and He sent His Holy Spirit into the world for the forgiveness of sins.
Could there be any better news than that? That is the Greatest News of all time!
And yet many people either don’t know about this or they act like they don’t know.
Sadly, many people remain clueless about the “new” hope we have in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is all about new News. When He was here with us, He gave us a new commandment ... so we could merit to live with Him in Heaven. Jesus says,
“I give you a new commandment: love one another.” This was indeed new news!
In a world that believed it was ok to get “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” this command from Jesus was new indeed. And it was widely received as bad news because it disrupted their human idea of justice ... that was based on retaliation, retribution & revenge. They felt: you hurt me … I’ll hurt you! I’ll get even with you!
Jesus changed all that with His new commandment … His new commandment of love.
You see, not one of The 10 Commandments of Moses speaks of love
and yet here in the new Commandment of Jesus, He uses the word love twice!
declaring, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
And Jesus goes on to point out that this would be the way that the whole world
would know that we belonged to God. He says,
“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
It’s from these words of Jesus that we have the beautiful song refrain:
“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.
Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
In giving us His Commandment … Jesus emphasizes that it is new news …
that it is fresh ... and different from the past.
He says, “I give you a new commandment: Love one another.”
Jesus had a way of introducing many things that were new!
Recall the words of Consecration that Jesus used at the Last Supper.
As He held up the cup of wine and changed it into His Blood, He said,
“This is the Cup of my Blood, the Blood of the new and everlasting covenant.”
So, no longer were we to raise the Cup and remember Moses;
now we were to raise the Cup and remember Jesus!
He said, “Do this in memory of me!” This was definitely new news!
And in today’s Second Reading from the Book of Revelation, John sees Jesus seated on His throne in Heaven and hears Him say, “Behold, I make all things new!”
This one statement alone should fill us with great hope ...
for the remedy of both our body and our soul.
The Gray family saw this first hand ... with the miraculous recovery of Paty.
By saying, “Behold I make all things new,” Jesus indicates that no matter what sins we may have committed, He has the power to forgive them and make our souls new.
Yes, Jesus has the power to remove all hurt and make us new again.
He demonstrated this in a profound way in the way He raised Himself from the dead ... not in a bloody and beaten body ... but in a glorified resurrected body.
God is all about “new” beginnings and “newness” of life. In our Second Reading from the Book of Revelation, John sees, “a new heaven and a new earth. And (he) also sees “ the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God.”
To us who believe in God, none of this should be new news. Throughout history, God has never ceased to tell us that He loves us and He wants us to be with Him.
Even today, in our passage from Revelation, John records,
“I heard a loud voice from the throne (say) ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race … God himself will always be with them as their God.”
Yesterday morning, we witnessed one of many ways that God keeps his promise to be with us always ... as 42 Students and Adults received the Full Outpouring of the God’s Holy Spirit, here at Holy Spirit, in Confirmation ... and then ate
the Body & Blood of God’s only Begotten Son, Jesus, in Holy Communion!
This is mighty good news!
It’s the kind of news that you want to tell to everyone you meet. For it will make their day to know that they were created by a loving, all powerful, ever-living God, who will never leave them and can always make them new.
And the best, most effective way that we share this good news with others ...
is simply by loving them as God loves us!
For, when others experience the love of God, it will move them to believe in Him.
Let’s not be clueless like the Drunk ... who was going the wrong way!
Rather, let’s stay clued in to the Good News of our salvation in Jesus Christ!
Following Jesus is the sure way to end up with Him and the Father in Heaven.
Let’s pray for the grace to obey Jesus’ new command ..
to “Love one another” every day.
It’s when we show the love of God to others that we are effective disciples
it’s how people will know there’s a loving God ...
it’s how people will know there’s a merciful Jesus!
As we go forward each day, let’s keep that song refrain in our heart:
They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.
Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love!