Sermons

May 26: Sixth Sunday of Easter

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” (John 14:23-29)

This is an especially favorite scripture passage of mine, coming as it does toward the very end of John’s gospel, and part of Jesus’s final discourse at the Last Supper. He reminds us that if we love one another and keep his word, he and his Father will make a home for us.

So what kind of home is Jesus speaking? Let’s combine this sacred knowledge and consider John’s prophetic vision.

In this dwelling place, John the Evangelist tells us that we are most especially precious in God’s sight, “With radiance like the precious stones, like a jasper, clear as crystal.”

Last night’s “Evening of the Arts,” reminds me most especially how special a place we have here at Santa Catalina. Your creativity and talents are precious stones and clear as crystal.

We’re coming to the end of a school year, and for some, it’s graduation and for others a summer break and returning home, perhaps a summer job or a family vacation.

Together on Sunday mornings here at the Rosary Chapel, our intent is that we have advanced spiritually; for each of us, this time is meant for reflection and personal growth.

Recently, I came across a quote from a writer and religious educator, Margaret Felice who asks, “Where do you see God on your life’s journey? What part of your life feels dark and shut out from the Lord? Do you struggle to see God’s grace at work? Invite God to give you the vision that sees grace in all things.”

To see grace in all things, that’s the gift of a lifetime!

How do I see it? For the past few weeks, I’ve been attempting to figure out how kids might help see religion or religious values and God. For me, this is a practical concern, and how I might capture this for the video camera, and my current television project.

Then I came across a viral video on YouTube; yes, this too could be a place where God is revealing his grace!

There is a series “Kids Meet…” produced by Hi Ho productions of Seattle. At the ages of six, seven or eight kids interview random people like a cop, a firefighter, a kid with cancer, a 101-year-old man, a teenager recovering from drug addiction.

The 6: 36-minute episode entitled “Kids Meet an Opera Singer” with the young Metropolitan Opera soprano Angel Blue is a moment of grace. It provides such radiance into the lives of children and a young talented musician. This video warmed my heart!

The opera star is seated and dressed in a gown with her hair completely in place, and Angel Blue looks like she is ready to perform. The kids, Michaela, Tatiana, Evan, and Blendan, are also seated. They ask some very pertinent questions:

•    Are you famous?

•    Are you a princess?

•    Is this what you wear when you work?

•    When did you know you were going to be an opera singer?

              Do you ever get nervous before a performance? 

•    What’s your highest note you can hit? High G-flat.

•    Do boys do Opera?

Michaela, the intuitive one, asks, “I know that many, many opera singers don’t make it. What made you stand out to everybody? Cause, you know you can study at the best school, get the best grades but still not become a professional opera singer.”

The perceptive depth and point of this question caught Angel Blue with emotions combining both laughter and tears.

She replied, “You know that’s true, please excuse me… I really don’t know. I’ve worked really hard at what I do. I love to sing. I’m just myself. I’m Angel. That’s all I can do. That’s all I can be. I’m very lucky.”

With a wide grin, Michaela ended the interview by saying, “Thank you, that’s a very good response.” And, “When can I see one of your performances?”

This video looks into the soul of a great artist, and these kids possess such a natural radiance that touches on God’s gift to us. To see grace in all things, that’s a gift of a lifetime!

It’s the stuff of heaven! In this New Jerusalem, spoken of in the last chapters of the Book of Revelation, a Guardian Angel leads John on a heavenly journey where he discovers, “We gleam with the splendor of God. In this dwelling place, there is no temple for its temple is the Lord Almighty and the Lamb.”

Such a dense meditation contains this mysterious line, “The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.”  The idea is that it’s God’s radiance that guides us in this newly transformed life.

John concludes his sacred text and the Bible itself, all 1,575 pages, “ Happy is the man who takes to heart the words of the prophecy contained in this book!”

Then John kneels to worship his angel guide, but the heavenly creature says, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and the prophets and those who take to heart the words of this book. It is God, you must worship!”

Written around 96 AD, at the time of Domitian’s persecution, these apocalyptic visions of John were intended to help Christ’s followers not to succumb to emperor worship; and encouraged all believers in every age to endure whatever the circumstance.

Echoing our present-day sentiments, Margaret Felice asks, “Where do you see God on your life’s journey? What part of your life feels dark and shut out from the Lord? Do you struggle to see God’s grace at work? Invite God to give you the vision that sees grace in all things.”

Such an invitation helps us to be attentive to Jesus’s plea, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

Rosary Chapel, Santa Catalina School, Monterey, CA.

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