The Bishops Homily – 6th Sunday Of Easter 2018

6th Sunday Of Easter
Cycle B | 06/05/18
Acts 10: 25-26; 34-35; 44-48
1 John 4: 7-10
John 15: 9-17


INTRODUCTION: Our Gospel for this Sunday is from the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus during the Last Supper in John 15 — a very long Speech in the form of a Prayer. To grasp the dynamics of this Speech is to understand almost the whole of Christian Spirituality. Towards the end of this Prayer is a little statement that serves as the key to unlock the whole passage. If we grasp this, we unlock many of the mysteries and peculiarities of Christianity.

(1) “It was not you who chose me; it was I who chose you.” All of the spiritualities on display today are grounded on the principle of our quest for God, for meaning, for happiness and peace. There is nothing wrong in all this. It is what religious founders have taught from the beginning of times. It can even allow us to come into deep insights on God but represents something that is qualitatively different from what is on display in Christianity.

Jesus insists that our choices vis a vis with God are relatively insignificant. Our climbing of the holy mountain is relatively not that important. Here is what matters that God has sought us out; that God has chosen us; that God hunts us down like the Hound of Heaven. It is not so much you who chose me but I chose you. To get that priority clear is to get much of what Christianity is all about. If we get this right, everything changes in the spiritual order.

Now I am not going to spend my time fussing around how I will reach God. Rather, I will cultivate an attitude of surrender. I will allow myself more and more to be found. More importantly, I am not going to live any longer in the tiny world of my projects and plans, even of my exalted spiritual projects and plans. Even those will fall aside because now I am drawn into the dynamics of the Theo Drama that God is writing and directing allowing me to play a part in his projects and plans.

Most people cultivate the Ego Drama where I am the star. That is nothing! When I allow a higher power to overtake me to where I would rather not go. The fun begins when we allow God to write our own story, when we allow God to play and direct the drama which I play a part of.

One of the great quotes about this shift from Ego to Theo Drama is the conversation of Jesus with Peter after the Resurrection in John 21:18 “When you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hand and someone else will dress you and lead you where you would not want to go.” This sums up what we mean and want to say.

(2) The readings of today gives us some consequences of this shift from Ego to Theo Drama. What does it look like? What is the texture of that shift? First, being chosen by Christ means being sent on mission. “I have appointed you to bear much fruit,” to accomplish/achieve something. Christianity is not really a mysticism of spiritual realization. We find that in the New Age.

Christian Spirituality is always mission oriented; ordered to a great task that God has given us. No great hero in the Bible–none that I know of–that is not given a mission. “We do not really know who we are until we have discerned God’s mission for us.” He has chosen us to bear fruit.

Second, we know that our mission will always be an expression of love for love is what God is. We have this from our 2nd reading. God is love! God is a play between a lover, the Father, and a beloved, the Son and the love that they share is the Holy Spirit. Love is the essence of God. We are chosen by Love for the sake of being love to the world. Love is not a feeling or an attitude but willing the good of the other as other. Every mission is tailored to an individual but whatever it is it will always take the form of love. The lives of the saints is different one from the other but their mission is always love.

(3) You become God’s friend. Love earns God’s friendship. Friendship always means opening up of oneself to another. This is what Christ does to us. He invites us to an intimacy with him. Who are the friends of Christ? God’s choice of us makes us joyful. What a pity that so many people think of Christianity as a joyless chain of obligations. The whole purpose of all Christian operation is to make us happy. Christ’s great sermon begins with the Beatitudes, meaning “happy” which delineates all the moves and attitude that makes one happy.

CONCLUSION: Spend sometime this weekend on Christ’s High Priestly Prayer as we end Easter and feel its impact on our lives!

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches