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Homily 7th Sunday of Easter

We have a mission to be communicators.

So think about how we communicate? Think about how we engage with others?

Think about how we use the gift of speech. DO I use it wisely? Do I always use it in love, or do I tend always to be angry and hurtful?


by Rev Deacon Michael Kennedy

Homily 7th Sunday of Easter

Today the Church keeps this 7th Sunday of Easter, and also it is World Communications Sunday. Before he ascended into Heaven, the Lord Jesus gave his Apostles a command to go and preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God. He sent them out with a message, a message to share, to tell, to speak.

And we know that once they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they went out to proclaim the Good News. Some spoke it, others wrote it down (we have the Gospel writers and St Paul to thank for this). But they did not just speak about it. They do not just write about it. They lived it out by their lives. By the way they acted, by the way they cared. They communicated in different ways the wonderful message of the

God’s love, God's forgiveness, God’s healing and God’s mercy.

And in sharing that message they brought others to know that message, and in doing

so enable others to live out that message. The message they share is the same message that we hear today. It’s the same message that we are called to live out today. You and I are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and as brothers and sisters in Christ we live by the word that has been given to us. We are part of God’s family, the Church. We are pilgrims in the world, a world which is very secular and very materialistic. A world which tries to play down, stamp out, and even ridicule people of faith as been old fashioned, not living with the times.

But we are also pilgrims with a mission, a mission to preach the word of God, to bring people to God, to show the love of Jesus to others, to communicate that love, that word, that joy, yes Joy, faith in God causes us to be Happy not Sad, to be joyful and excited, not mournful and sullen. We are to live out that life that call, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, that Spirit who gives us Wisdom, understanding, Reverence and respect, right judgement and courage. Courage to be People of faith in spite of all the difficulties we may have to face. Think of St Stephen, whom we met in the first reading today, his courage to preach the good news of Jesus, to communicate God’s love , Stephen, one of the first deacons of the Church, who also was the first Martyr, the first to die for his belief and his faith, for his commitment to preach and to speak.

Yes, we have a mission to be communicators.

SO think about how we communicate? Think about how we engage with others?

Think about how we use the gift of speech. DO I use it wisely? Do I always use it in love, or do I tend always to be angry and hurtful?

Today we remember this weekend one of the greatest communicators of our modern

age, who used his talents, his skills, and his own unique character to Preach, to teach, to spread the word of God. 40 years ago this weekend, Pope John Paul II, now St John Paul II, made his pastoral visit to England, Scotland and Wales. For Six days, he travelled all around the country, preaching, meeting, engaging and celebrating our Catholic Faith. His was a Pastoral visit, to the Catholic Community. But as we know the visit nearly did not happen, the year before he was due to come he was shot in an attempt on his life in St Peters Square and was seriously injured, in fact he said it was Mary our Mother who protected him, and then just a month or so before he was due to come, the visit once again was put in jeopardy because England went to War with Argentina over the Falkland Islands..

Thankfully, it was judged that the visit should take place, but in order to do so the Pope did not meet any political leaders in our country, his only meeting was with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace on that first day of his visit.

The theme of the visit was The Seven Sacraments, and so the Pope Baptised new Christians at Westminster Cathedral, Anointed the sick at a moving Celebration at our Cathedral, St George’s in Southwark, celebrated Confirmation at Coventry, Led a reflection of on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Liverpool Catholic Cathedral, Ordained Priests in Manchester, Spoke to Married Couples and led a renewal of marriage vows in York, and celebrated the First Communion of Children in Cardiff. He also led a Service of Faith in Canterbury Cathedral on the weekend when we kept the Feast of St Augustine of Canterbury, who brought the Christian Faith to these shores. He met the Religious communities of England and Wales at Roehampton, the Polish Community, his own countrymen and women at Crystal Palace. And his final meeting was with the Young People of England and Wales in Cardiff on 2 June. I was one of those young people and still remember vividly that wonderful gathering.

Pope John Paul was a great communicator. He told us here in Southwark, Today I make an urgent plea to this nation. Do not neglect your sick and elderly. Do not turn away from the handicapped and the dying. Do not push them to the margins of society. For, if you do, you will fail to understand that they represent an important truth. The sick, the elderly, the handicapped and the dying teach us that weakness is a creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in your midst you might be tempted to think of health, strength and power as the only important values to be pursued in life. But the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share his sufferings.

And to the Young People said “I have come to this land as a pilgrim pastor, a servant of Jesus Christ. I have come to proclaim Christ’s Gospel of peace and reconciliation; I have come to celebrate his saving action in the sacraments of the Church. I have come to call you to Christ. Before I go away, there is something really important that I wish to emphasize. There is something very closely linked to the sacraments that I have celebrated, something that is essential to your Christian lives. It is prayer. Prayer is so important that Jesus himself tells us: “Pray constantly” (Luc. 21, 36). He wants us to pray for light and strength. He wants us to pray to his Father, as he himself did. The Gospel tells us that Jesus prayed all night before choosing his Apostles (Cfr. ibid. 6, 12). And later

on, in his Passion, at the height of his suffering, Christ “prayed more earnestly” (Ibid. 22, 44).. Jesus not only gave us the example of prayer, he actually taught us how to pray. One of the most beautiful scenes of the Gospel shows Jesus gathered with his disciples, teaching them to pray it is my hope today, as I return to Rome, that you will remember why I came among you. And as long as the memory of this visit lasts, may it be recorded that I, John Paul II, came to Britain to call you to Christ, to invite you to pray!

Dear young people, this explains why, in the Church of today, you are the hope of tomorrow. And so I urge you, in the words of Saint Paul: “Pray at all times in the


In the Gospel today Jesus prays to his heavenly father, praying for all those who come to believe in him through the preaching of the disciples. You and Me, we are one of those believers, Jesus was praying for you and me hundreds of years before we were born.

So how will his prayer be answered in our lives today? How will we preach his word,here in this place and in this time?

Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to come to us, to be our helper and our Guide, just as Jesus promised.

And let’s ask St John Paul II to pray for us and to intercede for us, with God our Father, Jesus his Son, and through the intercession of the Holy Spirit.

St John Paul II, Pray for us.

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