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When the veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured, a young rookie, Tom Brady, was pulled to be the throwing arm for the Patriots. He did a good job and led the Patriots to the playoffs. It was about that time when the injured Bledsoe returned to the team so there was a quarterback controversy. Someone asked for my opinion and I thought they should give the ball to the veteran because of his experience. I was wrong. Tom Brady took the team through the playoffs and won the Super Bowl.
Not long after that, the Red Sox were in the playoffs with the Yankees. The Red Sox had just lost the third game in a row. My colleague Br. Lou Falbo, who is a Detroit Tiger fan, came over to me and said, “Don’t worry about the losses. The Red Sox will still go on to win the World Series. I replied, “That will never happen.” It was my opinion at the time, and I was wrong again. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series that year after an eighty-six-year drought.
So let me ask you a question: When you come to Mass at St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine do you want to hear my opinion? Of course not. My opinion of a good day is fifty percent. No, you come to church, not to hear opinions, but the truth of the Gospel.
The guys wanted me to fill out one of those brackets for March Madness. I know nothing about college basketball so I found three sports analysts. These are professionals. It is their job to know each of the strengths and weaknesses of the teams, player stats, injury reports, and who is peaking at the right time. They analyze all of this information and the three of these professionals came up with a bracket. That is the bracket I used and I was eliminated in the second round. I can understand why I can be wrong once and a while, but these are professionals. So here is my question. How do I know that the disciples and the evangelists got it right? When they tell me to believe and I will have eternal life, how do I know they are correct? When they tell me to carry my cross daily or forgive 70 times a day and I will acquire treasure in Heaven, how do I know they are right? The Gospel of John tells us why they are right. Jesus tells his disciples that the Father will send them the Holy Spirit, the Advocate. That is, a lawyer.
I teach John’s Gospel every year. That last time I taught it, there were two lawyers sitting together in the back of the class. So I asked them, “Why do you think God would send the disciples a lawyer like the two of you?” They answered, “Because God loves us.” I said, “So let me get this straight. I hire you, which will cost me a fortune. So I can feel loved? Why would I do that? I can go home and feel love for free. No, the reason I hire you and pay you so much money is that you will go to a court of law and show the world the truth. If I am innocent no one is going to take my word for it. I need someone to prove to the world that I am innocent. That is what lawyers do. And that is why Christ sent the Holy Spirit. This is a real gift because where else are you going to get the truth?
I ran a youth group and I had one rule because I know they could handle one rule–“Do not die.” And no one died on my watch. Fr. Jim, who took my place, also had one rule that he thought they could handle. Tell me the truth. He taught the kids the value of truth. Truth can never hurt you. Truth can make you better. It is our most valuable access to success and happiness. Today on this feast day God gives us the truth. Welcome and enjoy the gift. When some say there is no God, they are voicing an opinion. Do you want to base your life on an opinion, or use base it on the truth given to us by the Holy Spirit? That is what Pentecost is all about.Back to All Homilies