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When veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured, a young rookie, Tom Brady, was called in to be the throwing arm for the Patriots. He did a good job. When the playoffs arrived Drew was returned to play again and 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 were down three games to nothing. After they lost their third game, my colleague Br. Lou Falbo who is a Detroit Tigers fan, came over to me and said, “Don’t worry about the loses. The Red Sox will still go on to win the World Series.” I said, “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.
This summer I decided to paint my room. That is not a hard thing to do. You just go to the store, pick a color and paint. When the room was finished, I opened the door, turned the light on and felt like I was inside a bowl of split-pea soup. I was wrong again.
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. That is because I am at best fifty percent — on a good day. No, you come to church not to hear opinion, but to listen to the truth of the Gospel.
The guys wanted me to fill out one of those March Madness brackets, and I do not know anything about college basketball. So this is what I did. I went on the internet and found three sports analysts. These are professionals. It is their job to know each of the teams, their stats, the injury report and who is peaking at the right time. They analyze all of this information and come up with a bracket. I then filled in my bracket and was eliminated on the second round. So here is my question. How do I know that the disciples and the evangelists are 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 one of you guys, a lawyer.” They said, “Because God loves us.” I said, “So let me get this straight. I hire you, spend a fortune, and I feel loved. Why would I do that? I can go home and feel loved for free. No, the reason I hire you and pay a big money is so that you will go to a court of law and show the world the truth.” That is what the Holy Spirit does. He shows the world that the disciples are speaking the truth.
Let me illustrate this better so you can appreciate the value of God’s gift. My future is full of possibilities. One possibility is that in the future is they could find a cure for baldness and someday I might have a full head of thick hair. Another possibility is that I could be elected Pope. And in that case, I will keeping my name, so that I would be Pope Peter II. I have lots of others but among so many possibilities there exists one absolute that will happen in my future. It is one thing I do not want to happen: I will die. Sadly, death will wipe out all of the other wonderful possibilities so that they will never happen. It is like always having a grand piano hanging over my head attached to a string. Everywhere I go the piano is there and the string will snap at any time and I will go splat. When Jesus sends his Spirit it means that God will replace the piano with a protective shield. So much better to live under a shield. That is, God switches my absolute from death to life.
So let’s review. There are many opinions out there. Some of them are very popular, others are based on professional analysis. Yet, all of them are at best, fifty percent, on a good day. The Holy Spirit gives us fact, which we can use to live our lives. Believe in Christ and we can change that dangling piano on a string into a shield.Back to All Homilies