Appleton, WI

Homily Connect May 9: Here Comes Everybody

Scripture: Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48 and John 15: 9-17.

My Graveside Experience

  • Grieving daughter who lost her dad caressed the urn
  • Invited other family members to circle for a group hug
  • Young man, though invited did not participate – remained outside the circle
    Why-perhaps he didn’t trust the invitation for felt excluded

The Early Church

  • Peter coerced in a dream to visit the house of a Roman, Gentile centurion-Cornelius
  • Peter not trusting because he was not of Jewish decent – Jesus persisted
  • Peter admits: “In truth I see God shows now partiality.”

What is Peter Saying

  • The Lord in inclusion – The Lord is universality
  • The Lord is not biased – or one sided
  • The Lord is not prejudiced or partisan
  • The Lord does not have favorites or make distinctions among people

Jesus and partiality and Peter’s surprise

  • The Holy Spirit rushes down on Cornelius’ family
  • Why the Holy Spirit before baptism – two events never separated
  • Explanation – Holy Spirit does not conform himself/herself to directives of early Church
  • The Holy Spirit is inclusion – What better way to make the point than in the moment with the gentiles
  • Surprise! In that moment, the Spirit shouts “Here comes everybody!”

Jesuit priest Fr Greg Boyle – revisited

  • Minister to gang members, drug pushers, addicts in Los Angeles
  • Received the distinguished Service Award from Boston College – Homeboy Industries
    His speech was touching

Speech highlights

  • Gang members arrive at Homeboy Industries barricaded behind a wall of shame and disgrace, and the only thing that can scale that wall is tenderness.
    We go to the margins and say [to those there], we refuse to live without you. We stand with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless…we stand with those whose dignity has been denied and those whose burdens are more than they can bear…we stand with the easily despised and the readily left out…we stand with the demonized and the disposable.
  • The architecture of the heart of Jesus always includes the following four characteristics: inclusion, non-violence, unconditional love and compassionate acceptance.
  • We go to the margins not to make a difference, but to be made different.
    What if our singular aim was to create a community of beloved belonging? What if we were to imagine a circle of compassion (a group hug, yes?) and then imagine nobody standing outside that circle? What if we chose together in a community of kinship (a parish family, yes?) to dismantle the barriers that exclude?

Just Maybe….

  • This reflection is about “remaining in my love” as Jesus reminds us
  • Your joy and my joy will be complete if we shape our heart in the pattern of Jesus’ heart
  • Let our hearts be inclusive, merciful, unconditionally loving and compassionately accepting?

Questions for reflection

  • What impacted you from the readings/homily?
  • When do you find it easy to be inclusive, merciful, unconditionally loving and compassionately accepting? When do you find it most difficult?
  • What does it mean to you when Jesus says “Remain in my love?”

Live Connected

We aware this week of God surprising you with an unexpected call to inclusion. What was your reaction?