Sunday, May 5, 2013

Recall / The Holy Spirit (2013-05-05)

This is my homily, Sun. May 5, 2013.  I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass 5:00 pm/7:00 pm celebrated during Fall and Spring semester  at  FDU University Interfaith Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck, NJ.

5th Sunday Easter, May 5, 2013   
Readings:  Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 | Psalm 67 | Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23 | John 14:23-29

[__01__]    In the Gospel this Sunday, “RECALL” and “MEMORY” are the messages from our Savior to us and to his disciples.

“whoever loves me will keep my word”
“the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, will teach you”

Jesus speaks to his disciples about their “recall” and future memorization and test-taking strategies. This conversation takes place at the Last Supper – the night before Jesus’s own Good Friday final exam.

Jesus – the teacher – was saying that after his earthly life, after his death, resurrection, Ascension, I would remain with us but would not remain with us in physical form.

[__02__]     RECALL STRATEGY

In college, high school, in academic settings and also in professional settings, “recall” is important.  Remembering the method, following a method, improves the quality of a product and our work.

Memorization may also be necessary.

But, can you and I really hope to memorize every number, every date, every word, every historical fact?   Certainly not ..that is, we cannot simply memorize answers.

We are better off – better able to recall – when we become aware of what the questions are.

This alertness of mind is important outside the classroom too our family relationships, friendships, in marriage.

[__03__]     Even a student before the exam cannot hope to memorize all the answers. Rather, a student tries to prepare by knowing the information…and then, preparing by knowing what the questions are going to be.

In the recent movie, 42, the newly signed Brooklyn Dodgers player, Jackie Robinson has some difficulty … adjusting to life in major league baseball.    A Dodger executive gives him some advice about how to prepare for and handle the reporters, the press.  

At first, Jackie Robinson resists this advice, thinking he does not need to prepare for the reporters …he needs to prepare for the game on the diamond. The Dodgers executive tells him that he should regard these questions – some of which are racially charged, discriminatory, bigoted … the same way he regards a baseball he wants to contact with his bat.

That is, Jackie is told… remember you can swing better, when you see the ball coming in slow…and you want to see these questions “coming in slow” also.  That way, you can answer them with patience, dignity…

[__04__]     REPENTANCE --  Our repentance, confession also begins with questions, with the examination (test) of our conscience.     This test also requires courage, practice.

Yet, we grow in virtue and honesty as we continue to ask these questions of ourselves.

[__05__]    PRAYER / DISCERNMENT / DECISIONS --- We also learn – and we pray by asking questions.   We may ask questions about our own anxiety…our sorrow …. Even our bitterness.  We pray by asking.

Jesus encourages to ask… so that we can discover – with both our hearts and minds what is God’s will in our lives. We pray and we ask so that we will know what is truth and justice.

The Holy Spirit is our guide our teacher in this process.

[__06__]     A professor or teacher  - at in Becton or Dickinson or Robison Hall would wants to do more than leave her students with answers.  The teacher also wants to leave the student with questions.

Jesus imparts the the Holy Spirit so that we can apply the Lord’s own values to decisions we need to make – decisions that involve ….

·         CARE  OF  A LOVED ONE -  especially for someone in advanced age or illness.    When we care for someone in this way, we certainly improve our own memory – our own recall – about the dignity of a living person.

·         PEER PRESSURE -  sometimes, other people – our friends, classmates…will try to persuade us what the answer to our lives might be…. The answer in terms of convenience, comfort, popularity…wealth.   The Holy Spirit is given to us so that we can ask the questions about justice, honesty…. The questions which might seem unpopular.

Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit as a teacher… not a teacher with all the answers in a manual for us to search by the index or online.  Rather, the Holy Spirit is our teacher helping us to recall Christ is still here …and that we still have the need to ask … to seek first the Kingdom of God.   [__fin__]     

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