Deacon Steven M. Johnson – St. James, Belvidere, IL
Homily for the 6th Week of Easter, Thursday, 5-13-21, Year B
Our Lady of Fatima-Optional Memorial
READINGS: 1st Acts 18:1-8, Gospel Jn 16:16-20
For a long time, St. Monica would try to talk to her son, Augustine, about God, the good life of prayer and devotion, and their catholic faith, but to no avail. Her son continued in his life of promiscuity and flagrance. Then her Bishop told her,
“That it was better to talk to God about Augustine than to Augustine about God. At present the heart of the young man is too stubborn, but God’s time will come. It’s not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.” 1
For many years St. Monica continued to pray unceasingly for her son’s conversion from his life of sin. Finally, in Milan, Italy, Augustine was inspired by the preaching of the Catholic bishop there, St. Ambrose. After that encounter and many revelations by the Holy Spirit, he was baptized on Easter Sunday in 387 AD. Soon after this his mother, St. Monica died, her prayers fulfilled in that her son would eventually become St. Augustine.
St. Monica lived a life of perseverance. She knew she would have to suffer many trials and tribulations before her son would come around to God. She knew in her heart that she would mourn, while Augustine’s world would rejoice; she would grieve, but her grief would become joy one day.
In today’s readings we see the exact same kind of perseverance. Paul, in trying to bring Christ to the Jews, knew it was an uphill battle, yet he persevered even when the Jews, his own people, rejected him. He did not give up. He continued on to others who would listen, the Gentiles. And because of Paul’s perseverance in spreading Christ’s Gospel, the world now knows of Jesus and his message. Paul’s mourning and grief was turned into joy because of his perseverance in the Gospel message.
Jesus tells the disciples that He will leave them, and they will think him lost. But then He tells them that in a short time they will see Him again. He is talking about his death and resurrection. If the disciples can persevere for a short time in their grief for Him, they will again experience unimaginable joy when they see Him again at His resurrection. Christ will teach them perseverance through His death and resurrection so that they can once again go forth to proclaim His Gospel after He leaves them to go to His Father in heaven. Their sorrow in His going to the Father will be turned into joy when He comes again at the end of the age.
We, too, must strive for this perseverance in the face of trials and tribulations in our lives here on earth. When we feel lost or want to give up and throw in the towel, Jesus asks that we persevere, knowing that through the Holy Spirit, our prayers will be answered. We just have to hang on for a little while longer.
Mary, the Mother of God, revealed one of the greatest tools we can use to persevere in this world, her desire for us to pray the rosary. She revealed this to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, who persevered in bringing her message to us all.
We must pray unceasingly like St. Monica, for ourselves, our children and the world. Know that our mourning and grief will be turned into joy at the end of the age when we see our Lord Jesus Christ walking toward us with open arms.