HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER 2017 DEACON ANDREW THOMAS
Anybody know who Walt Disney is?
What famous cartoon character did he create?
This year, the Walt Disney of video games died at the age of 91. He was a Japanese man by the name of Masaya Nakamura. Do you know what video game he created? It’s the most popular coin operated game of all time?
Pac Man. When I was younger, the video game that everyone played was Pac Man. In Pac Man the object of the game is to eat all of the little dots called “pellets.” However, Pac Man is constantly being chased by ghosts, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde. But Pac Man is not powerless. When he eats the power pellets, he’s able to defeat the ghosts with ease.
Second graders, what do we consume at Mass that gives us strength and power over sin? The Eucharist! The Eucharist is our power pellet in our journey here on earth, that keeps us safe from evil spirits, and sin.
What is the Eucharist?
It’s the BODY, BLOOD, SOUL, and DIVINITY of Jesus Christ. It’s the greatest nourishment we could ever receive and we become closely united to Christ when we receive it worthily.
Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “I am the way, the truth , and the life.”
What do you think he means by that?
1.) The Way – he is the path to holiness. 2.) The Truth – Jesus is truth itself. When we stay true to God’s commandments we live as Jesus did. 3.) The Life – Jesus is the new Adam who through his suffering, death, and resurrection, has brought us new life, and a means to enter into heaven.
In our first reading we read about the missionary work of St. Paul, a convert to Christianity, as he addresses the synagogue with his new found faith in Christ. As we know from Paul’s letters, he became a great missionary to the Jews and Gentiles alike. He finds the way, the truth, and the life, in Jesus Christ.
The first Gentile converts are actually the Magi, who come from far-eastern lands to find the true king, Jesus Christ, and pay him homage. The word, “epiphany,” means “manifestation.”
First communicants, the reason your first communion is so special is because like the Magi, you’ve found Jesus Christ; He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
At every Eucharist we have the opportunity to become intimate with our God. Through the words of consecration, the bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. How awesome!
What can take us from the path to Christ? What takes us away from Christ? (ask children)
Sin. St. John Bosco used to tell his boys three things that take children off the path to God: bad company, bad habits, and bad books.
1.) Bad Company. It’s important children to stay away from others who introduce you to sinful things. Anyone who coerces you to disobey your parents or teachers, to bully someone else, and older children, to drink alcohol, or try drugs, or look at bad things on the internet, is not our friend. We must avoid them.
2.) Bad Habits. If we are lazy in our schooling, and don’t take our education seriously, we have to break free from that. If we are in the habit of telling lies, or using bad language, or taking the Lord’s name in vain.
Another word for a bad habit is vice. The word, “vicious,” comes from the word, “vice.” Christians are not vicious. Christians are virtuous, meaning we use our gifts to follow God and behave as Christ to others.
Do you know what St. Thomas Aquinas called a person who was overcome with bad habits, or vices: A monster. Have you heard of cookie monster on Sesame Street? What was his vice, or what was his bad habit? Cookies!
3.) Bad Books. When St. John Bosco told his children this, there was no internet, or movies. Imagine what he would be saying now. We have to avoid books, movies, videos on the internet that corrupt us.
Remember that Adam and Eve made the mistake of delving into their curiosity of evil. The devil wants us to be curious about evil things. That’s why horror movies and horror novels, novels filled with fantasies involving magic, and spells, and the black arts can cause so much damage because they corrupt our innocence, just as it corrupted Adam and Eve, and my friends, it’s everywhere, because we allow it, we want it , and we failed in not censoring it through either our own ignorance, or lack of courage in the Holy Spirit.
If you’ve been following the daily readings at Mass this week, there is one account of Paul that was skipped in our lectionary. On Wednesday we ended with Acts 13:5 for our first reading, yesterday, we started with Acts 13:13.
Acts 13:6-12 was missing, and I invite you to read that passage on your own.
Basically, Paul and Barnabas encounter two magicians: One is a false prophet named Bar-Jesus, and the other named Elymas. Paul condemns these magicians and says to Elymas the following filled with the Holy Spirit:
“You son of the devil, you enemy of all that is right, full of every sort of deceit and fraud. Will you not stop twisting the straight paths of [the] Lord? 11Even now the hand of the Lord is upon you. You will be blind, and unable to see the sun for a time.”
The bible consistently condemns magic and sorcery. In fact, the beauty of the Magi prostrating themselves before Jesus, is that they have now found the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Magi, were astrologers. They were priest/kings from the East. In the manifestation of Jesus they renounce their former understanding of wisdom, and choose Jesus.
We cannot teach our children to follow Christ, and yet allow them to read books that are filled with magical fantasies. Their minds should be filled with the awe of the saints and angels in heaven, not the dark and demonic.
The reason we as parents and teachers are so ignorant of these dangers is because ultimately we are ignorant of the Sacred Scriptures, and the teachings of the Church, evident in our Catechism. And as St. Jerome says, “Ignorance of Scripture, is ignorance of Christ.”
We are called to be knowledgeable. If we put the same effort in our understanding of Catholic theology as we do to understand medical science and modern psychology, our children would benefit greatly.
And as beautiful as these advances have been for us, they cannot fill the God-shaped hole inside of us, and that’s the need for Jesus in our lives.
For He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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