Worship At Home, The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Welcome to Worship at Home with Corpus Christi Church
The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Whatever your present status in the Catholic Church, whatever your
current family or marital situation, whatever your past or present
religious affiliation, whatever your personal history, age, background,
race or color, sexual orientation, whatever your self-esteem…you are
invited, welcomed, accepted, loved and respected by the
Catholic Community of Corpus Christi.
Let us know your needs, your hopes, your gifts.
There is a place for you here.
Awake, O Sleeper
Let us begin, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Now, here in this place,
we hold on to a world of proof and facts
while you proclaim a world of truth and life.
Come now and help us celebrate our faith,
which is you, and you alone.
Help us turn our hearts to your life
that is continually reaching out and
healing the most troubled hearts.
We ask this through Christ Jesus, our Lord.
The First Reading
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
The word of the Lord
Thanks Be To God
Let Your Mercy Be on Us:
The Second Reading
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Peter
Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it says in Scripture:
Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone, chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.
Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone, and
A stone that will make people stumble,
and a rock that will make them fall.
They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.
You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
The word of the Lord
Thanks Be To God
Deacon Glenn Skuta:
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint John
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Deacon Glenn Skuta:
You may be thinking that I, as a deacon, am preaching today because of our 1st reading from the Acts of the Apostles, telling of the calling of the first deacons. Actually, Fr. Paveglio and I set the preaching schedule months ago based on our calendars and availability, not even looking at the readings.
You may also be thinking that I, as a deacon, am going to preach on that first reading about the first deacons. But, let’s not talk about me – let’s talk about you! Let’s talk about us.
We all have our roles in the Church. Me as an ordained deacon, Fr. Paveglio as an ordained priest. But our second reading speaks so importantly of the roles of the vast majority of the members of the Church, of the many non-ordained members. St. Peter says, “like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices.” You, the non-ordained, are what the Church calls the “common priesthood”. The baptismal rite reminds us that we are all anointed as priests, as members of that common priesthood. What is a priest, by definition? – a priest is one who offers sacrifice. For ordained priests, they play the special role of offering the sacrifice of the Mass, that we also participate in and offer with them in our common priesthood. We say to the priest in part of the beautiful dialogue of the Mass, uniting our prayers with his, “may the Lord accept this sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His Holy Church.” That is part of the “spiritual sacrifice” St. Peter talks about us making. And gratefully so many of the common priests also enhance the sacrifice of the Mass in making music and song, in ministering communion, in reading the Word, in serving at the altar, in artistic adornment of the sanctuary, in dance, in ushering and greeting and hospitality.
But beyond the sacrifice of the Mass we participate in, we are called to offer the sacrifice of our lives to God as common priests in our common, daily lives. You all do that every time you volunteer to help others and sacrifice your time and energy. You parents sacrifice a part of your life when you invest your time and energy in your children, forming them in the faith and raising them to care for others. You children make sacrifice to God when you study hard and practice your music or sport, giving your time and effort to honor the gifts God has given you. You all make sacrifice in your jobs, where you sacrifice so many hours – making offerings of the building up of society by the work you do, sacrificing the wages you earn in supporting your families, and in financially supporting your Church and other noble causes. You all make sacrifice to God in the sacrificing of your time when you give it to others who need it – helping them, listening to them, and sometimes just being with them.
Yes, we are called as common priests to offer the sacrifice of our lives to God in common times – and in uncommon times, too, like the uncommon time we are in now. Perhaps now more than ever in our lives, St. Peter’s words from that 2nd reading ring so true: “like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices.” Yes – as we are still unable to come together in the physical houses of our church buildings, we have let ourselves be built into a spiritual House of God. We have all been given dispensation by the archbishop to not have to attend mass these many weeks – yet hundreds in our parishes pray and attend weekly online, as you are now. We offer spiritual sacrifice staying home when we would rather be out and about, visiting family and friends, in this church. We’re getting to the point where we’d even rather be at school and work than stuck at home so much! But we sacrifice our common activities to keep each other safe – especially those who are most vulnerable. And in this uncommon time we are realizing just how uncommonly important so many people are who we have overlooked or thought simply common – nurses, truck and delivery drivers, grocery store clerks, teachers, lab workers, factory workers, scientists, meat packers, farmers.
We are coming to more deeply realize the true value of children, parents, family, friends. The true value of each other. We are all uncommonly uncommon.
As St. Peter said in that 2nd reading of our value and nobility: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises’ of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
God bless you, the uncommon, common priests of our loving God, with light, life, and love. Do not let your hearts be troubled.
This Sunday is the fifth Sunday in Easter, and we find Jesus consoling the disciples at the last supper. The disciples are worried, they have questions and are not ready for Jesus’ departure. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” Jesus sees their concerns and tries to reassure them that the key to a place in God’s house is faith, and they already have a room waiting for them. Jesus is not referring to a heavenly hotel with rooms, but instead to the space we make in our hearts for God to dwell within us. The many “rooms” or “dwelling places” which he is going away to prepare are perhaps the separate instances of God’s “indwelling” in the heart of each and every believer. In the absence of the physical Jesus they will discover God’s presence still with them. They create the space for God to dwell within so that they can go about continuing the mission of Jesus with a core of stability. The Gospel presents Jesus as the guide in life, as “the way, truth and life.” We now make up the community that is the current household of God, where Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit dwell. We don’t have to wait until death to dwell in God’s household, we are in that household now, because God dwells in us now. Jesus goes further to say “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones that these, because I am going to the Father.” No matter what our calling, our love of God and the work of Jesus are at the center. It is a deeply personal relationship. We are led by Jesus one by one, known by name and not just one of a group.
“Do not let your hears be troubled.” Jesus speaks to us today and knows that our hearts are troubled. Take a moment to think about what is going on around the world with Covid-19, with protests, unemployment, education, with healthcare, immigrants, and “essential workers”. Think about the overall grief, frustration, disappointment, and sorrow in global solidarity. Think about gun violence, racism, poverty, wage inequality, privilege, bullying, and suicides. Think about increasing tensions around political dysfunction in all forms, and pillaging of the planet while destroying natural resources. Think about families isolated together not getting along, struggling to make ends meet, hungry, and those trying to make it through the day without a home. What does it feel like? Is your heart troubled? Jesus feels it. We all experience it in our own ways; isolated, paralyzed, overwhelmed, powerless, off balance, out of control, disconnected, afraid, thoughts spinning in your head, no stability, sleeplessness, despair, grief, tears, and anger. Jesus can see all of this. He knows that our lives and the world are not defined by or limited to what troubles us. We have been de-centered and shifted off our core, it is a part of life and the human condition. We are not alone. If our hearts are troubled, then it is time to re-center. This doesn’t necessarily fix the problem, whatever it might be, it means that our lives are tethered to something greater than ourselves for stability. We have something to cling to in the storm. Jesus is reminding us that there is a center, and it is not us. It is not America and the constitution, and it is not our success, accomplishment, position, or power. The center is deep within. The Father’s house is within. The kingdom is within. Wherever you go, there is the center within. Whatever you face, there is the center. Whoever you are, there is the center, regardless of what troubles, there is the center. Cling to that center and work outward from that lifeline. The dwelling place is the way God’s life intersects with our own through mercy, forgiveness, justice, generosity, compassion, gratitude, healing, love, beauty, wisdom, hope, courage, and joy. These are the dwelling places for troubled hearts, places of re-centering, places to heal our dis-ease. Every time we live out and express the divine attributes with our words, or by our actions, we regain our center, restore balance, and take up residence in the Father’s house. To follow Jesus is to choose life in the midst of death, hope in the midst of hopelessness, light in the midst of darkness, and healing in the midst of pain. It is to accept suffering as part of discipleship. To calm a troubled heart should be at the center of our stance toward each other, since it is, most profoundly, the stance of Jesus toward us.
We Are Not Alone:
Profession of Faith
Knowing that we are not alone, let us profess our faith:
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Prayers of the Faithful
Christ is risen and still present among us.
With our faith deepened, we pray for our families, our neighbors, and those who have no one to pray for them.
For the Church:
May we break the chains of division and discord by being people of peace and reconciliation, helping to calm troubled hearts…
We pray to the Lord,
For our world:
May those governed by pride and self-interest and those oppressed by the rulers of this world be transformed by the triumph of God’s power…
We pray to the Lord,
For our mothers and stepmothers;
grandmothers and godmothers;
for all women who have loved or believed in us;
and for women caring for others in impossible situations…
We pray to the Lord,
For all COVID-19 patients, their families, and medical teams attending to them, as well as for all health care workers on the front lines during this pandemic…
We pray to the Lord,
We remember those who have died…
May they behold the face of Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life…
We pray to the Lord,
we seek to do your work and to make Christ known to others.
Give us the courage to live as we are called and help us when our faith falters.
Strengthen this community that we may love and serve our neighbors
and be faithful and effective witnesses to the Gospel.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.