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Bishop's Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

The love of our mothers helps us remember the great love of Jesus for us.

By Bishop Larry Silva
May 09, 2021

[Holy Family Church, Honolulu (Confirmation & First Holy Communion)]

What a blessing it is to be able to celebrate your Confirmation and First Holy Communion on Mothers Day!  (I also received my Confirmation and First Holy Communion on Mothers Day, but on two separate days – in the last century!)  Mothers are very special people, because when we think of a mother, we almost always think of love.  All they do for us perhaps could be done by someone else, but they do it with a spirit that we know is different, because it is a spirit of love.

Now, mothers sometimes command us to do things we would rather not do.  For example, maybe they command you to eat your vegetables.  (They probably never have to command you to eat your ice cream!)  Maybe they even do sneaky things like hiding them in some other dish, but even if they don’t, you know they command you to do this because they love you and want you to be healthy and strong.  They may command you to get out of bed to get ready for school, when you would rather not do either.  They command you to be nice to your siblings, to do your homework and your chores.  They do all this because they want you to be responsible and to grow into adults who can take care of themselves and of others.

Today you are going to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in a special way in the sacrament of Confirmation.  Other people who have not received this gift can still do wonderful things for other people, but you will now be able to do them with a spirit of great love, because the Holy Spirit is God, and God is love.  The Holy Spirit will give you wisdom and understanding to know what is the right thing to do for yourselves and others, and he will give you courage to do what you never imagined you could do on your own.  You will be able not only to love those who love you more faithfully, but even to love those who are your enemies and who do not treat you very well.  That is how God loves everyone, and how he wants us to love one another.

This is why Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”  Like our mothers, Jesus sometimes commands us to do things we would rather not do, but he always does so for our own good.  He might command you to help a friend who is struggling in school with homework, even though you are very busy yourself.  He might command you to hold your tongue and not say the hurtful things you may be thinking to someone else.  As you grow older, he may command you to be faithful to his ways and his teachings, even when many others are going a different way, and even when you will be laughed at and shunned because you are faithful to him.  Jesus will never ask you to do anything that is wrong or bad for you or for anyone else, but he may ask you to do many things you would rather not do.  His Holy Spirit can guide and strengthen you to remain in him.

Just as your mother can accomplish so much to help you because she is so present to you == hugging you, kissing you, loving you – so Jesus wants to be present to you, to physically embrace you.  And that is what happens every time you receive Holy Communion.  Jesus is not just someone who lived long ago and far away who taught us many wonderful things and then left us.  No, Jesus is risen from the dead, and is alive now.  He ascended into heaven, but he told us that he is “the living Bread come down from heaven.”  He will be here in a short time when the Holy Spirit, through the words of the priest, changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  The same Jesus we hear about who lived long ago and far away is alive here and now and wants to hug and kiss and embrace all of his beloved in a sacred and holy communion.  He wants to make us one with him, just as he is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  He wants to enter us so that we can continue his work of bringing love to a world that is so often filled with hatred and neglect.  He give you his Body and Blood so that you can be his hands, his feet, his heart, and his mind, present in this world in which we live.  Just as he laid down his life for us on the cross; just as our mothers lay down their lives for us; so he commands us to lay down our lives for one another, and he gives us his strength so that we can do it.  And he does all of this, not because he wants us to suffer, but because he knows that if we give ourselves as he did, we will be filled with the most wonderful joy we can imagine.