Thirst for Jesus … He thirsts for you!
Homily preached April 17, 2022
by Monsignor Michael Deering
It’s amazing what we human beings can do when we put our minds to it.
Look what we’ve done; we’ve been to the moon and have astronauts circling the earth in a Space Station. We’ve transplanted human hearts and other organs to keep people alive, and we’ve harnessed nuclear power to provide us with energy to live and work.
Yes, we humans are capable of many wonderful accomplishments that bring us great satisfaction. And the way we attained them by seeking them and even thirsting for them.
All of us have experienced the joy of individual accomplishment, whether it was
getting good grades in school, being successful in sports,
marrying the love of your life, getting awards at work or other endeavors.
And there’s no doubt that the way you achieved those victories was by holding them
in your mind and your heart as very worthwhile goals and dedicating yourself
to having them … yearning for them … and you could say … even thirsting for them.
In fact, the ones that mean the most to us are the ones we thirsted for the most.
Well, as we gather today, we have in our midst, a group of 8 people who have demonstrated a thirst that they have had … a thirst ... to come closer to God.
For the past 9 months, they have been coming to RCIA Instruction Classes
here on Tuesday nights to learn about the teachings of the Catholic Church.
This wasn’t especially easy given the tug that all of us have on our schedules ...
with work and school and family and other interests.
Yet they thirsted for having an intimacy with God like they’ve never had before
and so they remained faithful to the journey of preparation.
And today their thirst will be satisfied as they enter into full communion with …
the Holy Catholic Church.
These 8 people will make a Profession of Faith and be confirmed in the Holy Spirit.
Another 5 people from the RCIA Class, made their entrance into the Catholic Church last night at the Easter Vigil Mass ... when they underwent the waters of Baptism ...
and were born again in God’s Holy Spirit!
Together, these 13 people will all have received this Easter ...
the full outpouring of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation
and the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in their First Holy Communion!
They have thirsted for all of this … and their thirst is about to be quenched!
It’s interesting to note is that when Jesus was here, He had a thirst too.
In John’s account of the Passion ... proclaimed in our Good Friday liturgy ...
we heard Jesus say from the Cross, “I thirst!”
What do you think it was... that He thirsted for? Was it just for a drink of water?
Certainly that wasn’t the first time that he thirsted for water during His agony
as He had undergone many hours of punishment.
No, His actions and His words showed us that He thirsted for something much more.
He thirsted for you and me…for our salvation…for us to be with Him forever in Heaven!
St. Peter affirmed this in our First reading today from Acts of the Apostles when he said,
“To Him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins through His name.”
Jesus died so that we could live … live forever with Him in Heaven.
Being baptized into God’s family and living out your faith in Jesus Christ ...
is the way to satisfy Jesus’ thirst.
All over the world, in parishes like this, men and women are taking steps toward this goal by making the free decision to come into the Catholic Church.
This Easter 13 people will come in here at Holy Spirit Church.
Throughout the Diocese of Birmingham some 300 people will come in.
And across the country over 80,000 people will come in.
It’s obvious that people are thirsting for what we have in the Catholic Church.
Now for those of us who are Catholic, we need to ask ourselves,
“Do we really realize and appreciate all that we have here in the Catholic Church?”
We have the Mass, which is the most powerful prayer in the world.
We have the seven Sacraments, which are channels of God’s supernatural grace.
We have the Sacrament of Confession, where God forgives us for our sins ...
wiping away our guilt and shame and renewing us in His love.
We have the Holy Eucharist, where we receive Jesus into our bodies ...
to help us & hold us & heal us.
Having access to all these graces is the reason why people outside the Catholic Church want to come in.
They thirst for what we have. They thirst for this level of intimacy with God!
And that’s why year after year, century after century, people keep coming into the Catholic Church. It continues to grow and grow,
today numbering 1.3 billion Catholics around the world.
The Catholic Church is Jesus’ Church. He established it on the rock foundation of St. Peter and he sent His Holy Spirit to guide it in all truth until He comes again in glory.
This we know, Jesus keeps His promises.
Today St. John describes how Peter and he ran to find Jesus’ burial tomb empty!
And John records that he saw and believed ...
that Jesus had risen from the dead ... and was alive ... just as He promised.
And St. Paul informs us that that will be our destiny too if we follow Jesus in this life.
He writes today:
“When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory!”
What a huge accomplishment that is. Imagine getting to live forever with the Risen Jesus!
That’s our destiny if we continue to do what we were told to do on Ash Wednesday …
to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
In order to do this we must regularly feed on God’s word and God’s Son.
We must go to Church faithfully and be renewed and nourished with the Sacraments.
After many months of prayer and study, 8 people seated in our midst are keenly aware of the treasures available in the Catholic Church ... and they want to come in.
For those of you who have been Catholic for a while, reflect on the treasure you have.
For those of you who have become Catholic as an adult, reflect on your anniversary.
We’re so blessed in the Catholic Church ... having God’s word and Word made flesh.
With these treasures ... we have everything we need to win Eternal Life!
Let’s rejoice in this great day, the Day of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior,
and let’s help Jesus satisfy His thirst for us … by thirsting to be ... with Him!