Local Homilies

16TH MAY 2021
Acts 1:15-17,20-26; Psalm 103:1-2,11-12,19-20; 1 John 4:11-16; John 17:11-19
Towards the end of the Last Supper discourse, the Lord prayed for the unity of the members of His body. The tone of this last part of the discourse was sober and reemphasized the importance of unity.
▪There is nothing that destroys an institution as disunity; the strength of every institution is in unity. Unless we understand and work towards this path of unity, we will not make much difference. For there to be a community, we must work towards unity; and unity is not possible without the presence of love. Where love is, there will be respect and fairness; where there is no love, there will be injustice and no peace – God is absent.
~ In choosing someone who would take over the place of Judas, Peter being the leader of the Church involved others. By involving them in this noble cause, he showed them how each of them were members of the body of the Lord. They prayed with one heart to God to show which of them He had chosen.
~ They only wanted someone that would become a witness to the Lord’s resurrection with them. They were looking for someone who had seen what the Lord did, so that such a person will not lose sight of his calling.
~ They allowed God to be part of this endeavour. They were not interested in where he came from, but in what such a person ought to do as a witness. We must examine this very well in our present day Christianity. Witnesses are more important than the accidents of colour, race and language.
▪The Lord knew the Church was going to be made up of different languages, races, colours, traditions and customs. He prayed that in the midst of all these differences, the path to oneness and unity would not be lost to accidents of differences. The path to oneness lies in being witnesses to the Lord’s resurrection.
~ We can retain our cultural heritage and still maintain the oneness that the Lord prayed for. Each culture is beautiful but incomplete, but on coming in contact with other cultures it will be enriched. If we open our hearts in love, we will come to this common ground of oneness.
~ Are we children of One God? If the answer is yes, why do we still find it difficult to address one another as brothers and sisters? Why do we have constant fight between those who identify themselves as conservatives and those who identify themselves as progressives? Is Christ divided? (C.f. 1 Cor. 1:13)
~ The Lord consecrated the disciples in truth, so that they would remain in the truth. We are consecrated in truth by our baptismal vocation and the word of God, so that we must remain in truth. The path to division amongst Christians is found in deviation from the truth. We are consecrated to the truth in order to be faithful members of the truth. It is only in this truth, which is in Christ, that we can speak with one voice.
▪Dear friend, how can we speak with one voice without the presence of love? There is nothing that the enemy enjoys as seeing us divided. There is nothing that has weakened us as division. No nation or group will progress with divisions, because it will be like a vehicle with two fronts which moves forward and backward. The Church survived many centuries because of her unity with Christ as Head.
~ God has loved us so much, we too ought to love one another. Love will open our hearts to listen to the cries of those around us. It will inspire us to seek fairness and respect for each other. Wherever there is love, unity will be ubiquitous. We pray that the Holy Spirit will come to unite us in oneness, which our Lord longs for. May our Blessed Mother Mary who is one in heart with Jesus, lead us to the path of oneness in Christ. Amen
Have a fruitful Sunday
May God bless you
Fr Joseph Chukwugozie Ikegbunam

Blessed Sacrament Parish, Stowe, and Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Morrisville, Vermont, USA