Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
The Gospel that was just proclaimed sets Christians apart from every other religion in the world.  In this Gospel Jesus makes it clear that he is divine, he is God.  No prophet, no spiritual leader has ever made that statement.  Think about what just happened with that statement.  For thousands of years the Israelites wanted to see God, wanted to know that God was with them.  But the God that led them to freedom was always distant, a cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night.  A God that even Moses only saw as a flaming bush, that spoke to only a few prophets.  For ages ancient people built idols, images so they could look at something, so they could “see” their god.  Philip was no different when he asked, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”  We all want to see God.  That is why God wrapped himself in human flesh, became one of us so that, “Whoever sees me, and what I do, sees God and what God is all about”.  That sums up Christ’s life here on earth; a life of caring for others, a life of healing, forgivingA life of love

And that is what we are called to do.  Why?  Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones that these, because I am going to the Father.”  So we are called not just to be followers of Christ but to be Christ.  The whole of Christianity, the whole of the spiritual life is summed up in this one idea - Christ wants to live his life in the world through us!  So, what does “doing the works that Christ does” look like?  Three thoughts, three things that characterized Christ’s life on earth, the life we are called on to continue.  We are called on to give life, to heal and to forgive

Jesus was a “life-giver,” he  made the people around him fully alive; physically, spiritually, emotionally.  Are people more alive because we are around them?  Do we make people feel special, important, listened to?  In today’s Gospel Jesus listens to the disciples, listens to Thomas, listens to Philip and then comforts them, eases their fears, teaches them.  But first he listened.  People know we care when we listen to them.  When we are with others do we give them our time and undivided attention or do we look at our watch and wonder how long are they going to talk?

Jesus was a healer.  We read over and over again about Christ healing the people he came in contact with.  Maybe we can’t cure someone physically but we have the power to heal.  We can heal others through our words, our gestures, our actions, acts of kindness, simple care.  What do our words do in a typical day?  Who do we know or come in contact with that needs healing?  We should ask ourselves at the end of the day “did I heal people today or wound them?”  If we healed today then we allowed Jesus to live his life through us.

First and foremost Jesus forgave people.  And not just in words, in actions also.  He sat at table with saints and sinners, welcomed despised tax collectors, taught his disciple to pray daily for the grace to forgive others.  How forgiving are we?  Are we willing to forgive, not just with words but with a positive action: a phone call, a handshake, a hug?  Are we willing to forgive when we know the forgiveness won’t be returned, when we will still be crucified? 

When we approach the altar and receive Christ’s Body and Blood and affirm that with our “Amen” we are really saying, “Lord, live in me today so I may give life, heal and forgive as you did.”  Don’t say Amen casually.