HOMILY EASTER SEASON WEEK 07 02 – Year II
Living Lives of Love and Gratitude:
Memorial of St. Philip Neri
(Acts 20:17-27; Ps 68; Jn17:1-11a)
When someone is dying, we pay special attention to his or her last words.
In the readings today, both Jesus and St. Paul are saying farewell – Jesus to his apostles, and Paul to the elders of Ephesus. In a sense, both are giving their last will and testament. As disciples of Jesus, we would do well to pay attention to both.
Today’s liturgy invites us to thank and worship Jesus, to imitate St. Paul, and emulate St. Philip Neri in sharing God’s love for us with others.
In the Gospel, Jesus, having finished his work of laying the foundation for the Church here on earth, recaps what he has done: he has made the Father’s name known and revealed the Father to the world; he has given eternal life and glory to those who believe in him, which is to experience a loving relationship with the Father and the Son, and he has taught us that the ultimate goal of the kingdom is oneness and intimacy with him.
This is the foundation of the Church. It is up to us to build on that foundation through intimate prayer to him, and in achieving intimacy and fellowship with other believers. As his disciples, we should thank and worship Jesus for who he is and what he has done for us, which is what we are doing right now in this liturgy.
For his part, Paul, looking back over his life and ministry, basically outlines for us the essentials of life as disciples of Jesus. Like him, we are to be a captive of the Spirit in serving the Lord. Like him, we are to proclaim the message of repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Like him, we are to testify to the good news of God’s grace and proclaim the Kingdom to all. In the end, like him, we are to proclaim the whole purpose of God. Would that we could say this about ourselves as we enter the last days of our own life.
Today the church invites us to honor St. Philip Neri, who was born in Florence in 1515 and educated by the Dominicans. Philip experienced conversion at the age of 18 and left for Rome, where he lived a life of seclusion and poverty. He studied philosophy and theology for three years before choosing to re-evangelize Rome, where Christianity had declined and was sadly in need of reform. He spent his days talking to people about God’s love, and his nights in prayer. In 1548 he helped found a confraternity of laymen to minister to needy pilgrims, leading to the establishment of a now-famous Roman hospital, Santa Trinità dei Pellegrini. In 1551, his confessor insisted Philip be ordained. As a confessor himself, Philip Neri is the patron of home missions, supported in Canada through Catholic Missions In Canada.
The Eucharist is nourishment for the disciples of Jesus. May our celebration empower us to live lives of gratitude and worship for Jesus, and imitate St. Paul and St. Philip Neri as disciples of Jesus.