14th May 2017

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Homily

"There are many rooms" there are places for you "In my father's house”. But Father's house is another word for the temple in Jerusalem, the temple in Jerusalem where the high priest offers sacrifices to God in obedience to the Law, the place where Man goes to meet God. And John as he writes now sees; as we see - Jesus is the Father's House, Jesus is the new temple, Jesus is the high priest, he is the sacrifice, he is the law, he is obedience to God, he is the place where Man meets God.

"I am going to prepare a place" means I am going to the cross and to resurrection. For by this work of salvation Jesus the high priest will offer the perfect sacrifice of obedience which makes it possible once again for Man and God to meet, to be one. And thus "No one can come to the Father except through me" says Jesus. It is not by simply following Jesus' example, not by being his friend, or being like him in a purely human way that we come to the place prepared for us, we must be part of Jesus, we must be in him and through him just as he is in the Father and the Father is in him.

This being part of Jesus, or better 'allowing Jesus to make us part of him' is made possible by his death and resurrection and comes to us in the form of grace (the gift of transforming love) in the sacraments.And so Baptism isn't just the sign that God loves us or the ceremony that makes us Jesus' special friend - it actually incorporates us into the body of Christ, we become part of Christ's mystical body, the Church, by the power of the grace given in that sacrament.

Grace is a share in the divine life. This being in Christ and Christ being in us is clear above all in the sacrament of in the Eucharist, Holy Mass, when we unite ourselves with the gifts of bread and wine which become Jesus who in Holy Communion give himself to us, Body Blood Soul and Divinity.

Jesus implores us to believe on the basis of the works that the Father living in him is doing. We tend to think of the miracles, giving sight to the blind, curing the lame, feeding the hungry.In fact this work is the death and resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit, the Paschal mystery. This is the great work of which all the miracles were just signs. That is why Jesus says I tell you most solemnly whoever believes in me will perform the same works I do, indeed he will perform even greater works because I am going to the Father.The works of healing were signs. Because Jesus has now gone to the Father, because Jesus has died, risen, ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, so we, through the sacraments, are made a part of Jesus, we are in him as he is in the Father, he is in us as the Father is in him.

So in our daily lives, our words, our actions, we work as part of Christ's body, with him, for the salvation the world - there is no greater work. As the dignity and wonder and importance of this task dawns on us we can only turn to our Lord for help and indeed next week we will hear Our Lord promising the gift of the Holy Spirit.