Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


"That Word is Christ Himself who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit"
Homily for 7th Easter Sunday
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
May 20th, 2012
Year B


Last week, at Sacred Heart, I mentioned how as I kid I was never really into video games – not like the kids are today. We had a Nintendo but my siblings and I never really took it to the next level. We would rather sit down and play a game as a family. One of the games we love is Scrabble. On Sunday’s, usually, my sister, mother, grandmother and I will play after dinner. There is another game – a word game – that you can play on the computer or over the phone and I’m not ashamed to admit that I am addicted to this game. Like Scrabble the object is to build a word and place your letters in strategic locations in order to gain the most points and win. Every so often, however, we feel the need to challenge each other on the meaning of a word. It is important to know what words mean not just for the sake of the game but also for life in general. Some words have powerful meanings.

In the Gospel today there are two specific words that jump right out at me: “consecrate” and “truth.”  The dictionary defines the term “consecrate” in this way: ‘to make or declare sacred, or to devote oneself to a particular service or purpose’ that has God in mind. Other biblical translations use the term “sanctify” rather than “consecrate” which carries the same meaning.

The second term, “truth,” is defined as fact, reality, or certainty. Webster’s online dictionary even lists God as truth. A problem arises, however, when we speak about truth in the context of our culture. To the detriment of our society, we have been too greatly influenced by the “fathers of modern philosophy.” Under the auspices of the quest for Truth, they walked a path doubt – question everything, trust nothing. Starting with the existence of things in and of themselves, in their own minds, they steer a course that leads them to question not just the cause of things, objective reality, but also the human person and eventually God. We have inherited this method of “reason” to the point that we now form our own reality. Truth has been declared something of the past and it now exists within the confines of one’s conscience. The search, then, for meaning, purpose, fulfillment… truth… begins and ends within myself. I form an image of myself that allows me to justify myself, to live “freely” the person I chose to be. What is the end result of such reason? Isolation, loneliness, and ultimately, despair – because that search is an endless quest that leads nowhere.

The meanings of these words are utterly important because they reveal to us in the context of this passage from St. John’s Gospel that Jesus is not just saying a polite little prayer for the disciples. He is saying something remarkably profound. Yet in order to understand it, we must recall what is in the prologue of his gospel. St. John says this: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:1; 14). In the gospel passage today, this prayer – known as the Priestly Prayer of Jesus where Jesus intercedes on behalf of the disciples to God the Father – he states: “Consecrate them in truth. Your word is truth.” That Word is Christ Himself who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit – Three Persons in one God – has just declared Himself to be Truth – fact, reality, certainty. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that this truth is unmixed with falsity. Thus, Jesus, has asked the Father to consecrate His disciples – to declare them set apart for service, to make them sacred and holy – in this Truth. “It is like saying,” says St. Thomas, “Make them share in my perfection and holiness… The meaning is then: sanctify them in me, the truth, because I, your Word, am truth.”

Jesus stands up to this modern notion of “truth” and declares Himself to be Truth and He makes His disciples sacred in Himself. Are we not His disciples as well? We, who have been baptized not simply into faith in Christ, rather baptized into His death and resurrection – into His very self. This prayer, then, is not simply a prayer for His immediate disciples, but is one that stretches all time. It is prayer that reaches the highest heavens and extends to every believer. Therefore, we are declared sacred by God Himself, and we are then called to devote ourselves to the One who in whom we have been consecrated, to the One who makes us holy, to the Truth. We are called to know and live this truth – in Christ. Thus, our lives must be saturated by God’s Word – Sacred Scripture. Our lives must be imbued with scripture because scripture reveals the Heart of Christ. It makes known to us God’s love, for as St. John clearly tells us, God is Love. Scripture helps us to know Christ, the truth of our faith. Scripture helps us to understand how we are to dedicate ourselves to this truth and live it according to His commands. Scripture teaches how to love Him. The search for meaning, purpose and fulfillment in life… the search for truth, begins and ends with God and His Word. Therefore, if we live our lives based on scripture leads us to live in truth, freedom, and in love. Scripture teaches us to live as people consecrated to God.






Fr. Jon Reardon


Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.




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