Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Fulfilment
For those seeking an understanding of life through religious values, total fulfilment only comes in eternity - our hearts are restless until they rest in You, O Lord. But there is a vast difference between that restlessness and the frustration and unhappiness of so many people in today's society. Today's reading all provide pointers available to the disciple of Christ for fulfilled living.

Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48: The transformation of the crowds listening to Peter is miraculous. Even before their baptism they were filled with the Spirit and proclaimed the greatness of God.

1 John 4:7-10: Here John is hammering home his constant message that the ultimate form of motivation to follow Christ has to be a recognition that God has first loved us, and that we should seek to return that love by having regard and respect for each other.

John 15:9-17: As in the Epistle, we hear the ever present theme presented by John of reciprocal love - God first loving man and man returning that love by dedicated service.

Point 1: Some years back, a radio/TV programme captured the attention of millions throughout the world, particularly the English speaking segment. It was Bishop Sheen's programme -"Life is Worth Living" - His opening lines, invariably, were "Is life worth living, or is it dull and monotonous?" Life is monotonous if it is meaningless; it is monotonous if it has no purpose! There are many people in our countries today for whom life is full of frustration and unhappiness. They are to be found amongst the aged who feel that life has passed them by; amongst the middle-aged who are having difficulty in recognising that they have spent half their lives getting nowhere, and that they will spend the rest of their lives staying there! They are to be found amongst the school leavers who are unable to find work or to find a place in the social structure of our society. They are to be found amongst those who, released from the immediate goals of day-to-day living, sink themselves in the oblivion of drink or some other form of drug usage. Because they feel frustrated and bored, they argue that life has let them down.

Point 2: At this point it is an easy step to develop a grudge mentality; to strike back at those who, in their minds, have let them down. Property damage, house breaking, car thefts and, more seriously, violation of the person by bashing or sexual abuse, become their answer to society. They are full of self sympathy because no one loves them. In point of fact it is they who have not loved. The American author and poet, Stephen Vincent Benet, who won the Pulitzer Prize twice, and who died in 1943, wrote -"Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small, uncaring ways".

Conclusion: The Christian response to this situation is to look for fulfilment in three factors - Life, Knowledge and Love. We want to encounter life without its shadow death. We take seriously Christ's promise that with Him, life in its fullness is possible. Even though there may be intermediate failures, the promise still stands. The knowledge that we seek is to know without its shadow error - [John 14:6] Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. The Love we seek is to be without its shadow hate. True living cannot coexist with rancour and hatred. -Love one another, as I have loved you" . Such goals can only be attained by people who are enthusiastic, determined and motivated. For the past five weeks we have been reading of the drive that the Apostles brought to their task of making Christ known. For many today, that drive is missing; minute by minute, day by dragging day, so many are letting life pass them by while Christ is still there with His eternal invitation:[

Scriptural reference: Mat 11:28] "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.