Homily for Monday of the 7th Week of Easter
Over the last few days, I have been wondering about why the Church reminds us of the events leading up to the Passion of Jesus in the final days of the Easter season. And I think today’s Gospel kind of gives us the key to that. I think sometimes, like the apostles, we can grow complacent or content in our experiences of faith. And on occasion, that complacency makes us take many of our faith experiences for granted and we can even forget about the things the Lord has done in our lives. As we go through the Easter season, I think that happens…we begin to forget about the sacrifice and suffering that Jesus endured for our sake, so Holy Mother Church reminds us.
Throughout his public ministry, Jesus seemingly always shared things in parables to teach those who were following Him, sharing intimate details about how the Father works in our lives, how He cares for us, how He wants relationship with us. The disciples, to their credit, would always ask Jesus to explain more fully the parables that He shared. They were enthusiastic about learning about the faith. But in today’s Gospel, we start to see a bit of complacency sneaking in on the disciples’ part. They are beginning to think that they know what Jesus is speaking about, that they understand all that Jesus is saying. Well, newsflash, they didn’t because in just a few short days, they were all basically going to abandon Jesus in His greatest moment of suffering.
It could be argued that their faith was not in fact as strong as they thought it was. If they were willing to abandon the man they believed to be the Messiah, the One who they thought would bring salvation to the Jewish people, the One they had followed for three years…then did they really believe Jesus was the Christ?
The same can happen with us. We can think that we know everything about Jesus, we can think that we know everything about our faith, that we don’t need to pray as often or we don’t need to do as much soul searching as we should. We grow complacent with our faith; we grow comfortable being where we’re at. And then, we get surprised when our souls are shaken when that faith is tested?
The Church is reminding us of the Passion of Jesus because it wants us to not grow complacent with our faith…she wants us to remember all that the Lord has done for us and hold onto those experiences, using them to strengthen our relationship with God. But, it’s also an invitation for us to recognize that our failures to love Jesus shouldn’t dismay us. We know that Jesus is there to pick us up. When we acknowledge our weaknesses, we have an opportunity to ask for the gift of fortitude, to strengthen our resolve to resist temptations and to overcome the obstacles that we sometimes face. So today, let’s ask the Lord for that gift. Let’s ask Him to help us not grow complacent in our faith and to have the courage to constantly grow deeper in relationship with Him so that we never lose our zeal to share the Gospel.