Saturday, May 30, 2015

From Biodata To Birthday

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (B)

Picture: cc Manu Dreuil

Sisters and brothers, do you know the difference between biodata and a birthday? What do I mean? Well, imagine a family looking for a new domestic helper. A new maid. They go to an agency, where they are given several thick folders to browse. In these folders they find the biographical information of many people looking for work. Page after page of photographs, names and addresses, dates of birth, employment histories, and so on. The family has never met any of these people. But this is how they first get to know their new maid. Their initial impression of the kind of person she might be. By reviewing impersonal information found in a folder. By looking at biodata.

Now flash forward to five years later. The family’s chosen maid has been living and working with them for all this time. And it’s been a very good fit. The maid is hardworking and responsible. And she’s treated very well. Even as a member of the family. Today is the maid’s birthday. And everyone gathers for a celebration. Each family member gives thanks for the gift of the maid. For all that she is and does for them. As they did when they first visited the employment agency five years earlier, the family reviews their maid’s life. But they are doing it in a very different way. No longer only from a distance. No longer merely by browsing impersonal facts in a folder. But instead on the basis of a close personal relationship. Five years of living together has allowed the family and their maid to move from merely browsing through biodata to truly celebrating a birthday.

I mention this because I think we are called to experience a similar shift today. The solemn feast of the Holy Trinity is, of course, meant to be a celebration of God’s life. But it’s possible for us to treat it as we would a page of biodata. As though we were reviewing a collection of impersonal information about someone we’ve never met. Facts about one god who is supposed to be made up of three persons: Father, Son and Spirit. Of course, if we’re honest, we’ll admit that we don’t really understand exactly how God can be both one and three at the same time. But that’s not really a problem for us. Most of us have learned simply to accept it as a mystery. By which we mean something that we don’t need to bother ourselves too much about. Something that shouldn’t be allowed to hinder us from simply getting on with the rest of our lives. Until the next time Trinity Sunday comes around again.

But the approach in our readings is quite different. In the first reading, Moses addresses the people of Israel, just as they are about to enter the Promised Land. And what Moses invites Israel to do is not much different from what people might do when they celebrate a family birthday. He reminds them of all that God has done for them in the recent past. He encourages them to recall their own experience of the power of God’s word, especially in the Exodus. How, with mighty hand and outstretched arm, God freed them from slavery in Egypt. And gathered them to himself. Adopting them as God’s own family. Enabling them to cry out joyfully in the words of the psalmist: Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own. Empowering them to live the way God wants them to live. In ways that befit the members of God’s own family. By keeping God’s laws and commandments.

The scene in the gospel is similar. Just as Moses gathers Israel, before sending them into the Promised Land. So too does Jesus gather his disciples, before sending them out into the world. Reminding them of all that God has done for them. Except that, in the gospel, Jesus is not just the new Moses. He is himself also the Word-of-God-Made-Flesh. It is through the Mystery of Jesus’ Dying and Rising, that God has brought about a new Exodus. Freeing a people from the slavery of sin and death. And not just the people of Israel. But all the nations of the earth. Including you and me. In Christ, God has adopted us as God’s very own family. This is what Jesus means when he says, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. And it is the good news of this merciful act of adoption that all of us are sent into the world to proclaim. Go… and make disciples of all the nations…

Nor is this wonderful work of God only a thing of the past. Only something that Jesus did two thousand years ago. No. We continue to experience the power of this great Mystery today. For even though Jesus has ascended into heaven, he remains present to us just as he promised. Present in the Holy Spirit. Who, as the second reading reminds us, is a Spirit of adoption. A Spirit that bears witness to our new status as children of God, and co-heirs with Christ. How does the Spirit do this? By giving us the wisdom and courage to live as members of God’s family would live. In the same way that Jesus himself lived. As adopted daughters and sons of God. Sharing the Lord’s sufferings so as to share his glory.

My dear friends, isn’t this how Trinity Sunday is meant to be celebrated? Isn’t this why we locate this feast on the first weekend following the great season of Easter? Immediately after our celebration of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, and the coming of the Holy Spirit? For us, Trinity Sunday is not meant to be just a review of impersonal information about someone we have never met. It is, rather, more like a birthday celebration of the head of our household.

A time to remember all that God, our loving Father, has been and continues to be, has done and continues to do, for and in us. Through the Son. In the Holy Spirit. Recalling not just memories that we all share in common. But also memories that are unique to each one of us. Memories of the many and different times in which we have experienced God’s care and concern for us. The many and different ways in which God has protected and provided for us. Inspiring our hearts to think the right thoughts. Strengthening our hands to do the right things. Guiding our steps to walk the right paths. Writing straight with the often crooked lines of our lives.

And as we do this. As we remember and count our many blessings. Something mysterious happens to us. We experience anew the energy that comes to the children of God. The power that is our birthright. We find new inspiration, new wisdom, new strength. So that we can continue to be sent out into our Promised Land. Into this broken yet beautiful world in which we live. To proclaim to all, by the lives that we lead, the love and joy, the peace and justice, of the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

Sisters and brothers, on this solemn feast of the Holy Trinity, how are we being called to continue moving from merely reviewing biodata to truly celebrating a birthday today?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bus-Stop Basics

Pentecost Sunday (B)

Picture: cc Daniel Lee

Sisters and brothers, do you remember the last time you went to a bus-stop? What was it like? And even if you don’t frequent bus-stops, because you travel in your own car, you can probably still remember what bus-stops are for, right? And how they are meant to be used. Of course, bus-stops can be used in many different ways. We can meet a friend at a bus-stop. We can go there to seek shelter from the rain. We can even choose to spend a whole day sitting quietly at a bus-stop. Watching the world go by.

Yes, it’s possible to use bus-stops in all these different and interesting ways. But that’s not really what they are for. We all know that bus-stops are built for one purpose: transportation. We are not really supposed to remain at a bus-stop for an extended period of time. No. We go there to catch a bus. To be transported to another location. Bus-stops are all about movement.

And in order for us to use a bus-stop effectively, there are at least three things that we need to know how to do. The first is recognition. We need to know how to identify the right bus. The one that will take us to our intended destination. We need to know the service number of the bus we’re taking. And, second, when that bus arrives, we need also to know how to flag it down and board it. But that’s not all. A third thing we need to know is, of course, how to wait.

For there will usually be other buses arriving at our stop. Buses that won’t take us to where we wish to go. When these wrong buses show up, we need to know how to ignore them. How to calmly and patiently let them pass us by. Which can be frustrating. Especially if we’ve been waiting a very long time for the right bus. While watching all the wrong ones go by.

Movement and recognition, waiting and boarding. These are what bus-stops are all about. And, strange as it may sound, these are also some of the things that make up Pentecost as well. Consider, for example, the first reading’s description of what it was like when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples. Very likely, our attention will be drawn most of all to the impressive sights and sounds. We’re told that the Spirit’s coming sounded like a powerful wind. And that it appeared… like tongues of fire. But what’s even more important than the sights and sounds are the powerful effects of the Spirit’s coming.

The reading describes these effects in terms of movement. Of transportation. When the Spirit descends upon them, the disciples are transported out of the room in which they had gathered. They are moved. Not only to leave the room. But also to speak powerfully and passionately. Preaching… about the marvels of God.

And not only the disciples, but also their listeners. We’re told that, at the Spirit’s coming, all the devout people living in Jerusalem, people from every nation under heaven, were moved to come together. They all assembled. They were also moved to amazement and astonishment that they could understand, in their own respective native languages, everything that the disciples were saying.

Not unlike a bus-stop, Pentecost is all about movement. Movement from fear to courage. From silence to speech. From division to unity. From confusion to understanding. From being scattered to being gathered together again. Nor does the similarity end here. Also like a bus-stop, Pentecost requires recognition. For the Holy Spirit is not the only thing that moves us. It is not the only bus arriving at our stop.

The second reading presents us with a contrast between two different movements. That of the Spirit of God on the one hand, and that of self-indulgence on the other. And we are taught to distinguish these movements by their opposing effects. By the different directions in which they transport us. When self-indulgence is at work, we’re told, the results are obvious: sexual irresponsibility… idolatry... jealousy... disagreements... envy... and similar things. In contrast, what the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Like a bus-stop, Pentecost is also about learning how to recognise different movements. Different impulses. Different bus services, if you like. The right ones to board. The wrong ones to ignore. And even to resist. But why do we do this? What is our ultimate intended destination? Where exactly do we wish to go? The answer to these questions is found in the gospel. And what an awe-inspiring answer it is. When the Spirit of truth comes, Jesus says, he will lead you to the complete truth. But what is this complete truth? What does it look and feel like?

The gospel reading is taken from the 15th and 16th chapters of John’s gospel. A little earlier, in chapter 14, Jesus had already told Thomas that Jesus himself is the way, and the truth, and the life (v. 6). So if Jesus is himself the truth. And the Spirit leads us to the complete truth. Then, it follows that where the Spirit is leading us is to Jesus himself. The Spirit recreates in us the life of Jesus. The Spirit reproduces in us the Mystery of the Lord’s Dying and Rising. The same joyful Mystery that we have been pondering most intensely in this great season of Easter that is now drawing to a close. This is the wonderful destination at which we all hope to arrive. The Lord Jesus himself. Present to us. Present in and among us. Present even to the rest of the world.

Isn’t this, my dear sisters and brothers, what Pentecost is really about? Recognising different movements. The wrong ones to ignore and to resist. The right ones to accept and to follow. But, if this is true, then surely Pentecost doesn’t just happen once a year. On the last day of Easter. Although we may celebrate the solemn feast on this particular day, Pentecost actually happens every day of every year. For, at every moment of every passing day, we all find ourselves at our respective spiritual bus-stops. Waiting for the right bus to arrive. So that we can allow it to take us to where we are meant to go.

Of course, we may not see and hear spectacular sights and sounds. No roaring winds from heaven. No dramatic tongues of flame. But what is more important are the movements. The impulses we experience. Some transporting us in the direction of selfishness and sin. Others in the direction of love and service and sacrifice.

Sisters and brothers, if Pentecost is indeed about transportation, then what are the buses arriving at your stop? And which ones will you be choosing to board today?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Why Did The Christian Cross The Road?

6th Sunday of Easter (B)

Picture: cc Megan Trace

Sisters and brothers, are you familiar with that series of riddles that have to do with a chicken crossing the road? For example, why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. Or why did the turkey cross the road? To prove that she wasn’t a chicken. Or why did the horse cross the road? Because it was the chicken’s day off. Sounds rather silly. But it could be a serious question too, right? After all, it can be a very dangerous thing for a chicken to cross the road. And if, despite the danger, the chicken still insists on crossing the road, then we might be forgiven for wondering at its exact reasons for doing so.

There are, of course, no chickens in our Mass readings today. But there is someone crossing a road of some sort. In the first reading, we find Peter crossing a rather big road. Perhaps even an expressway. It is the road that divides Jew from Gentile. The clean from the unclean. And not only is it against the law to cross this road, it is also a potentially dangerous thing to do. Who knows what his fellow Jews might think? Who knows how they will react? After all Jews, as you know, believed Gentiles to be unclean. And yet here is Peter, not only speaking to a Gentile, but visiting his home. And, subsequently, even staying there for some days. What are Peter’s reasons for doing this? Why does he cross the road? Why should any Christian bother to cross the road? This, my dear sisters and brother, is the question that I believe our Mass readings are helping us to answer today.

The first reason why Peter decides to cross the road is because he has come to a certain realisation. The truth I have now come to realise, Peter tells his listeners in Cornelius’ house, is that God does not have favourites. Peter crosses the wide road that separates Jew and Gentile, because he has come to realise the same truth that Paul writes about in the 1st letter to Timothy. That God desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (2:4).

Now this is a radical shift in thinking. Especially for someone who believes himself to be a member of a chosen people. And that is true also for the rest of us Christians. We too believe ourselves to be a chosen people. But it’s important for us to understand the nature of this choice. God indeed chooses us. But not in a way that excludes others. We are not members of an elite club. God has no favourites. God wants everyone to be saved. Which is why, like Peter, every Christian is called to cross the road. To share the good news we have received with others.

But how did Peter come to this realisation in the first place? He didn’t arrive at it on his own. It was revealed to him. And that is the second reason why Christians cross the road. Revelation. In Peter’s case, the revelation had come in the form of a vision he experienced even before he was invited to Cornelius’ house. In this vision, Peter had heard God telling him that what God had made clean, he was not to call unclean.

What’s more, while at Cornelius’ house, Peter receives yet another revelation. With his own eyes and ears, he witnesses the power of the Holy Spirit at work. For only just after he begins to speak to his hosts, and even before he has had a chance to pray for them, his listeners suddenly start speaking strange languages and proclaiming the greatness of God. With this new revelation, any remaining doubts Peter may have had before are now dispelled. God really does wish even Gentiles to be saved. Could anyone refuse the water of baptism to these people?

But that’s not all. The second reading reminds us of an even earlier, more foundational, revelation than these. God’s love for us was revealed, we’re told, when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him. This is the foundational revelation. The revelation in which Jesus crossed the infinitely wide road separating heaven from earth. Creator from creation. Divinity from humanity. Holiness from sin. Life from death. Revelation. The second reason why Christians cross the road. The revelation of God’s deep love for us. Granted by the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

The gospel gives us one more reason for crossing the road. If you keep my commandments, Jesus tells us, you will remain in my love… What I command you is to love one another. The third reason why Christians cross the road is so that they may remain in the love of God. May remain in the God who is love. For to cross the road for others, is also to imitate Christ, who crossed the road for us. It is to love as we have first been loved. And so to live in God, as God lives in us.

Realisation, revelation, and remaining. These are the 3 key reasons why we Christians cross the road. Even when it’s inconvenient. Even when it may be a dangerous thing to do. These are the reasons why we love, even our enemies. Why we share the Good News, even with strangers. Why we reach out to the poor and the needy, even when our efforts may go unnoticed or unappreciated. The reasons are clear enough. This is what our readings do for us. They give us the answer to the question why do Christians cross the road?

But there is another question that we need to ask, isn’t there? The answer to which we do not find in our readings. For even if we know why we should cross the road, we need also to know what exactly are the roads that each of us needs to cross at this particular point in time. Perhaps there is someone against whom we have been bearing a grudge. Or who has been bearing a grudge against us. Could this be the time for us to cross the road from conflict to reconciliation? Perhaps there is a situation of injustice that we know of, but have been keeping quiet about. Could this be the time for us to cross the road from silence to speech? Perhaps, like Peter, we too know a Cornelius. Someone who might be interested in Christ. Could this be the time for us to cross the road from apathy to evangelisation?

Sisters and brothers, not unlike that notorious jay-walking chicken in the riddles, we Christians have been given more than enough reasons to cross the road. But what exactly is the road that you are being asked to cross today?

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Caring For The Elephant

Wedding of Ian & Gillian

Readings: Genesis 1:26-28, 31a; Psalm 118; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8; Mark 10:6-9
Picture: cc Amanderson2

Ian and Gillian, dear friends, do you still remember the story of the blind men and the elephant? As the story goes, several blind men had never seen an elephant before. So they found one and felt it with their hands to discover what it was like. But each person touched a different part of the animal, and so drew a different conclusion. The guy who felt the ear said the elephant was like a huge fan. The one who felt the tail said it was like a piece of rope. The one who felt the trunk said it was like a snake. And so on. Since their experiences were different, they could not agree as to what the animal was really like.

Which of them was right? Well, anyone who can see will be able to tell them that they are all right to some extent. But since they can’t see, the blind men don’t know that. They can only judge from their limited experience. Does this mean that they are doomed to argue forever? Does this mean that they can never be friends? Not really, right? For although they may disagree over what the animal is like, they can agree on at least one thing. They can agree that it is indeed an elephant that each of them is touching. They can agree that the animal is real. That, in itself, is a significant point of agreement.

And this is already more than enough for them to come together to cooperate on a single project. To care for that elephant. To make sure that it has enough to eat and to drink. To make sure that it lives a happy life. What’s more, as the blind men work together, perhaps it’s possible for them to go even further. Perhaps each of them can share his experiences of the elephant with the others. So that they can each learn to better appreciate where the others are coming from. And, in the process, learn to live peacefully with one another, without having to argue all the time. Perhaps they will even start an organisation of blind men, devoted especially to the care of orphaned elephants...

There is, of course, no elephant among us today. And thank goodness for that. But there is a question that some of us may be asking. As we gather on this joyous occasion, when Ian and Gillian are united as husband and wife. The question is this: How did this day come to pass? How did this happy couple meet and fall in love? How did they decide to get married?

I don’t propose to tell the whole story. I’ll leave you to ask the happy couple for the details. If you don’t already know them. As far as I know, there’s actually more than one way to tell the story. According to one version, it all began 14 years ago. With a very helpful catechism classmate by the name of Bertrand. Whose remarkable teenage efforts at matchmaking are finally bearing fruit today. (Is Bertrand here by any chance?)

But Bertrand is not the only one we have to thank. For his efforts would have come to naught if Gillian and Ian hadn’t struck it off. If they hadn’t found a mysterious connection with each other that has lasted all these years. Through various separations and reunions. So... thanks to Bertrand… But not just to Bertrand. According to another version of the story, something bigger than Bertrand was at work. Something that goes by various names. Some call it fate or kismet. Others luck or fortune. The idea that this relationship is somehow written in the stars.

And then there is, of course, the Christian version of the story. A version told in the readings that we just heard. According to this version, the story dates back, not just to 14 years ago, but way back to the very beginning of creation itself. The first reading tells us, that when God created the human race, God decided to create not just individuals, but relationships. From the beginning of creation God made them male and female. And God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.

But what exactly was so very good about this relationship between the man and the woman. The answer is found in the second reading, which speaks to us of love. Not just any kind of love. Not just the love that we may have for shopping at Takashimaya. Or for eating durians. Or for collecting Hello Kitty dolls. The reading tells us that this love is what makes life worth living. Without this love, we can even give our bodies to be burnt, and it will do us no good. After all, don’t suicide bombers do the same? This love is different. It is always patient and kind… never jealous… boastful or conceited… never rude or selfish... This love never comes to an end.

And the reason it doesn’t come to an end is because it doesn’t originate with us. It comes from God. It is out of this love that God creates the human race. It is out of this love that God sent his only Son, Jesus, to save us from our selfish ways. It is out of this love that God has seen fit to unite Ian and Gillian as husband and wife. And what God has united, man must not divide.

So there we have it. Different versions of the same story. Different opinions as to how this joyous union we are celebrating came to be. Different ideas about whom we have to thank. Bertrand. Kismet. God. But which version is true? Which version do you believe? Very likely each of us here will believe something different. And none of us has the means to prove the others wrong. But that’s okay. For even if we don’t agree about when, how and by whom this connection between Ian and Gillian came to be. We can at least agree that these two young people are truly very much in love. We can at least agree that they do experience some mysterious connection with each other. A connection strong enough to give them the courage to commit their lives to each other. For the rest of their days.

And because we can agree about this, the rest of us can come together to cooperate with each other. To commit ourselves to doing whatever we can to ensure that this beautiful relationship continues to survive and to thrive in the days ahead. Isn’t this also something that we are celebrating today? Not just the union of two individuals. Of Ian and Gillian. But also the coming together of various very different people. With very different beliefs. Yet bound together by a common bond. A common concern. A common friendship. A common love. For Gillian and for Ian. Something that unites us in spite of our differences. Something that may even lead us to share our experiences with each other. To learn from one another. And to live fuller lives as a result.

Ian and Gillian, my dear friends, what are you prepared to do to continue caring for the elephant in the days ahead?

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Sponsorship & Space

5th Sunday of Easter (B)

Picture: cc John

Sisters and brothers, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word sponsor? What does sponsorship mean to you? If you’re like me, you’ll probably think of the phrase, And now a word from our sponsors... You’ll think of the provision of resources, especially money. And it’s true. Very often, to sponsor something is to finance it. To sponsor someone is to provide her with monetary support. But doesn’t sponsorship have another meaning? One that involves more than money?

When someone applies for citizenship or permanent residency in a foreign country, for example. The applicant is often required to name a sponsor. A citizen of that country, who is willing to take responsibility for the conduct and character of the applicant. And this is true not just of the countries of the world. It’s also true of the community that is our church. As you know, every new inquirer joining the RCIA is assigned a sponsor. A baptised Catholic who accompanies the person through the process. Someone who takes responsibility for him. Someone who sees to her needs. Who teaches him the way things work.

More than provision, sponsorship is also about inclusion. More than just the supply of resources–be it in money, or in kind–sponsorship is also about the offer of hospitality. It’s about making space for newcomers. It’s about helping strangers to find their place in a community. To sponsor someone is to allow the person the privilege of making a new home among us.

And haven’t we all had some experience of the importance of sponsorship in this sense? Don’t we all know what it feels like to be a newcomer? Whether in school or at work. In church or at a party. We all know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. We all know that feeling of immense gratitude and relief, when someone on the inside takes the trouble to come out to receive us. To ease us into unfamiliar surroundings. To introduce us to new people. To quiet our anxieties. To make us feel at home.

Sisters and brothers, we all know the importance of sponsorship. Of hospitality and inclusion. Isn’t this why we find Barnabas  such a likeable person? In the first reading, Saul is the obvious newcomer to the Christian community in Jerusalem. He is the outsider. And not just any ordinary newcomer. Saul has a history of persecuting Christians. It’s no wonder that everyone is scared of him. Unwilling to welcome him into the community.

Fortunately for Saul, someone on the inside intervenes on his behalf. The reading tells us that Barnabas took charge of Saul, introduced him to the Apostles, bore witness to his conversion to Christ and to how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. In effect, what Barnabas does is to act as Saul’s sponsor. He helps Saul to find a place in the church in Jerusalem. If not for Barnabas, perhaps Saul would never go on to become the great apostle Paul.

But he does. And we see the beginnings of this radical transformation already in the first reading. Where we’re told that Saul started to go around with them in Jerusalem, preaching fearlessly in the name of the Lord. But what is really happening here? Isn’t Saul doing the very same thing that Barnabas had done for him? Through his preaching, Saul offers his listeners a new home in the community of believers. He speaks of their inclusion in the communion of saints. Just as Barnabas had sponsored him, so now Saul looks to sponsor others.

But that’s not the whole story, is it? That’s not quite the complete picture. If it were, then the church would not be that much different from any other group of people looking to recruit new members. Even credit card companies do this, don’t they? By preaching the good news that membership has its privileges. But the Christian community is not a credit card. The sponsorship we provide is not inclusion in an elite group. A gathering of people richer, or smarter, or more socially connected than everyone else. What then is the Christian version of sponsorship? What are we really members of, if not an elite group?

We find the answer in the gospel. Where Jesus speaks about being the true vine, in whom we, his disciples, are the branches. Jesus is, of course, using an image from agriculture. And yet, what the vine does for the branches is not that different from what the sponsor does for those who are sponsored. Like the sponsor, the vine is the place of hospitality and inclusion. The location onto which foreign branches can be grafted. Where they can make a new home. Where they can find new life. Except that this is no ordinary home. This is not just any ordinary human life. Instead, what we believe is that, in Christ the True Vine, we the branches gain entry into the very life of God! As the second reading reminds us, whoever believes in Christ and keeps his commandments, lives in God and God lives in him.

By telling us that he is the vine, Jesus is offering himself to us as our true sponsor. The one who includes us, who makes a privileged space for us, in the very life of God. This is the marvellous Mystery that we are celebrating, especially in this joyous season of Easter. The Mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Christ. By which, we have all been given a place, a home, in God.

But we only reap the benefits of this sponsorship, if we claim it for ourselves. If we continue to make our home in Christ. If we remain in him. And we do this by acting in the same way that Barnabas and Saul acted in the first reading. By taking the trouble to sponsor others. As the second reading reminds us, our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something alive and active; only by this can we be certain that we are children of the truth… If the new life of the true vine flows in us, we will bear fruit. If we are truly members of the Church, the Body of Christ, then we will naturally desire to invite others to join our number. To experience our life. To share our home. To partake of our joy.

A joy that many around us are seeking so desperately. Without even realising it. People who may take pride in being the insiders of this world. But who remain outsiders in the kingdom of God. People who think they are living the good life. But who are really dying, bit by bit, with every passing day. If this is true, then is it not our responsibility as Christians to reach out to them? To usher them into the Body of Christ? To graft them onto the True Vine? To sponsor them so that they may share in the life of God?

Sisters and brothers, especially at Easter, we remember and we celebrate the wonderful way in which Christ has already gained for us a home in God. Do you know someone who needs to hear this good news? Someone who needs to come to know Christ?

Sisters and brothers, is there someone in your life who is still looking for a sponsor today?