Saturday, May 12, 2018

7th Sunday of Easter, Year B, 13.05.18

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26 / 1 John 4:11-16 / John 17:11-19

Among the many subjects taught in school is history. History may not seem like a major subject like math and science, and trying to make a living out of knowing the past has limited prospects.

A story goes that a parent asked the teenager: Why are you not doing well in history? The teenager replied: Because the teacher keeps asking about the things that happened before I was born!

But those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. And we are not here to repeat history; rather we are here to create history.

And if we think we are having it tough, then we just have to read the history books. We will probably change our minds.

But we can also make history interesting for children if we can come up with some corny history riddles –
-       Why are the Dark Ages called the Dark Ages? Because there were many knights.
-       When a knight is killed in battle, what sign would they put on his grave? RIP – Rust in peace
-       What lights did Noah use in the ark? Floodlights.

So history is not a burden on the memory but a direction for our present reality. The more we know about the past, the better we are prepared for the future.

The month of May has many significant historical events for the world and also for the Church. Today is the 13th May. Back in 1917, and that’s just about a hundred years ago, Our Lady appeared to the three shepherd children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, in an obscure village of Fatima in Portugal.

It was a significant event that happened towards the end of WW I. The message was the call to prayer and penance, to repentance and conversion, so that there can be peace in the world, otherwise a greater and more terrible war will happen.

Maybe the Church and the world knew about the message rather late, and maybe the response was slow to heed the message of peace, and consequently WW II struck with terrible consequences.

Has the lesson been learnt? After 100 years, will we heed the message of peace? Or will history repeat itself?

Fast forward to the year 1981, also on the same day, 13th May, Pope John Paul II was entering St. Peter’s Square in the pope mobile and waving to the crowds. But one man in the crowd had evil and sinister intentions.

When the Pope was within range, the man, Mehmet Ali Ağca, fired four rounds with an automatic pistol in an attempt to kill the Pope. But by the grace of God, and as Pope JP II said later, by the protection of Our Lady, though he was critically wounded, he survived the assassination attempt.

And upon his recovery, Pope JP II even went to visit his assassin in prison, in what was termed as the famous act of forgiveness and even obtained pardon for him. And with that history was created and it went into the books.

So in the history books of the Church, we can truly see how Jesus had watched over the Church and protected those that belonged to Him, as He said in the gospel.

Jesus even prayed that we be protected from the evil one, so that the evil and terrible moments of history will not be repeated.

Indeed Jesus watches over us and He prayed that we be protected from evil because we have this mission of being sent into the world to proclaim the truth of God’s love.

To communicate the truth of love and the truth with love is our mission so that we bring the message of hope to a world that has seen history repeating itself, and repeating not for the better.

Today we also celebrate Mothers’ Day and we honour mothers for their role in the formation of their children in faith and values so that their children will go on to create a beautiful history for the world.

What I am holding in my hand is a light bulb, an old-fashioned filament light bulb. But it has a beautiful history and a beautiful story as well.

One day, in the year 1855, a 7 year-old boy came home crying. When his mother asked him why, he told her that his school teacher called him “addled”, a word that means slow, confused and mixed-up. 

When the boy asked the teacher what it meant, he crudely told him that his brains were all scrambled.

Well, the matter of fact was that the boy was very curious, he liked to ask a lot of questions, so the teacher thought of him as rather “unteachable”.

So, the mother told the crying boy, “My son is not addled. If nobody wants to teach my son, then I will teach him.” She then proceeded to teach him at home. 

That was in 1855. Many years later, when he died in 1931, homes and businesses briefly turned off their electric light bulbs in honour of this person, who as a boy was termed as slow, confused and mixed up.

Well, that person was none other than Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors. And his inventions included the sound recorder, the motion picture camera, as well as improving the telegraph and the telephone. And of course, the electric light bulb!
For someone who had only about 3 months of formal schooling, Thomas Edison owned 1093 US patents, as well as hundreds in other countries.

All because his mother took the trouble to teach him, when others thought he was hopeless.

Thomas Edison said this of his mother: “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I have someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” A lovely and touching tribute from a great inventor, Thomas Edison, to an ordinary and simple mother, Nancy Edison, his mother.

It can also be a fitting tribute to all mothers as we honour them and pray for them on Mothers’ Day.

So mothers, know that when you are teaching something good to your children, you are actually creating history, a beautiful history that will be written by the hand of Jesus.

As for us, we are preparing for the Parish Feast day in a month’s time. We are folding these “Jesus Invites” so that others will have the opportunity to offer up their needs and petitions to Jesus during the triduum in preparation for the feast day.

We need to fold at least 6000 of these. What we see on the side altars are already 6000 from last year’s feast day triduum.

Our mission as the Parish of Sacred Heart is to fold these “Jesus Invites” so that others can put in their prayer petitions and we believe that they will experience the watchful love and protection of Jesus. 

Yes, we believe that, and as we make our spiritual contribution in folding these “Jesus Invites” may we also know that we are making and creating a beautiful history for the future generations.