Responding to the Word of God

Homily for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

by Fr. Tommy Lane

This week is a blessed week for us. This week the Word of God will be preached in this country by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus said in today’s Gospel that he did not come to condemn but anyone who does not accept his words will be judged by his word (John 12:47-48). This country too will have a decision to make about the Word of God preached to it this week and will be judged by its response to the Word of God preached here this week. “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46) The light will shine on this country this week and we pray that this country will respond to the light. In the first reading, the Holy Spirit directed that Barnabas and Saul be set apart for God’s work (Acts 13:2) and then they were sent forth from Antioch by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:4) and proclaimed the word of God (Acts 13:5). God has set apart Pope Benedict for America this week and sent him to us to proclaim the word of God to us. Barnabas and Saul were open to receive the word of God, we pray that we too may be open to receive God’s word to us.

Again and again the Gospel of John stresses the importance of responding to the word of God:

  • “he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life…” (John 5:24)

  • If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples (John 8:31)

  • if any one keeps my word, he will never see death (John 8:51)

  • If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

  • If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)

Sometimes the word of God can be difficult and challenging,

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:18)

If the word ever seems folly could it be because we have forgotten that ,

One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. (Matt 4:4)

It is the word of God that guides us.

“Your word is a lamp for my steps and a light for my path.”  (Ps 119:105)

The word of God heals us

Neither herb nor application cured them, but your all-healing word, O Lord. (Wis 16:12)

I often invite couples getting married to allow the Word of God to dwell in their house with them using the words of the Letter to the Colossians,

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. (Col 3:16)

In responding to the Word of God Mary is our model,

“Let it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

This week is a blessed week for us. This week the Word of God will be preached in this country by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. We pray that it will respond to the Word of God.

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2008

This homily was delivered in Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.