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Bishop's Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 21, 2017

Homily of the Most Reverend Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu
Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A

[Confirmation at: Holy Cross Church, Kalaheo; Immaculate Conception Church, Lihue; St. Raphael Church, Koloa; St. Catherine Church, Kapaa]

What miracles will you perform?  You might ask, “Who, me?!”  Yes, you! Philip performed some miracles because he was a disciple of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit.    There is no less power in the Holy Spirit now than there was then, so think about what miracles you will perform.

Are there people who are possessed by evil spirits who need them to be cast out?  Maybe you are thinking of a “Hollywood” kind of exorcism, where an incredibly ugly demon has taken possession of a person and makes the person do things that would frighten anyone.  But think more commonly of someone who is possessed with a spirit of selfishness, who puts himself above all others, who thinks he is the beginning and end of all wisdom, who thinks he can define the truth about life and death, marriage and sexuality.  This is a person who functions very well in the world and may be very popular, but that spirit of self-centeredness is no less evil than the ugly kind of evil spirit portrayed in Hollywood exorcism movies.  You can cast it out by being an example of someone who leads a life full of joy because it is centered on God and others rather than on yourselves.  Little by little your joy will be contagious, and people will want to know what it is that makes you different.  And then you can tell them about your deep love for Jesus and how that gives you the greatest freedom you could ever have.  If you do not think you can cast out evil spirits, think again!  The Holy Spirit working in you can accomplish more than you could possibly imagine.

Can you make the paralyzed and crippled walk as Philip did by calling on the name of Jesus?  Such miracles do actually happen to those who are physically paralyzed by the power of prayer and hard work.  But think of other things that paralyze people.  Have they had a hard past, with abuse or abandonment, such that they do not think they can go anywhere in life?  Have others constantly put them down and belittled them because they are not the brightest people in the classroom or the most agile on the sports field; or because they are from a different country, dress differently and act differently, so that they are bullied or fear being bullied?  Do not ever think that there is nothing you can do about that!  In the name of Jesus, whose disciples you are, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, who seals you in Confirmation, you can reach out to them, help them in various ways, and soon find that they are walking and running.  I recall a very close friend of mine from high school – and we are still close friends.  In high school I wondered if he would make it to graduation, because he could ask some very dumb questions!  But I reached out to him and coached him, as did several others, and today he is a very successful lawyer – which means he really is not a dumb person at all.  He was just paralyzed, and our outreach to him freed him from the paralysis.  These are the kinds of miracles you can perform!

Several miracles happen here at Mass, which is why it is vitally important that we come to Mass at least every Sunday.  We think someone is just reading some Scripture readings, but this is really the risen Jesus, the Word of God, speaking to us.  We think we come to communion and receive a little bread and wine, but we do not.  We receive the Body and Blood of the risen Christ, who loves us so intimately that he allows us to eat his flesh and drink his blood.  And in a moment, you will see the bishop putting a little oil on your forehead for this sacrament of Confirmation.  In the future you may not remember which bishop confirmed you, the date on which you were confirmed, or maybe even whether you were confirmed.  But the important thing is that you remember that the risen Jesus is here to kiss you on the forehead with a kiss that will mark you, seal you, brand you as a beloved disciple by the gift of the Holy Spirit.  And with the power of the risen Jesus and his Holy Spirit poured out upon you, you are now commissioned to go out and do incredible miracles!