Homily by Deacon Jay Ziolkowski
Two words almost leap out at us in today’s readings: “chosen” and “love”. Putting them together, we get the message for this feast day of St. Matthias that we are all Chosen to Love.
In the first reading, the apostles feel the necessity to chose someone to replace Judas who had been with them from the beginning and who could witness to the reality of the resurrection in the life of the early Christian community.
In the Gospel, Jesus points out that He has chosen us, not we who have chosen him. God in Jesus comes to us, He longs for an intimate covenant relationship with each and every one of us, and drawing us to God’s self.
Jesus goes on to remind us of our call which is all about love. The Father loves Jesus, and Jesus loves the Father back in an eternal dynamic exchange of love. We are to love others as Jesus has loved us, and that for us many ramifications. A first is that to truly love others as Jesus has loved us, we need to abide in His love as prayer–just being in the presence of the Lord like Mary of Bethany, not really trying to think or do anything, but rather just aware we are in the presence of the Word and soaking up the love of the Father and Jesus like John resting his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper.
Then Jesus touches on the different way we can love. A first way is to be willing to sacrifice our time, talent and treasure to serve all our brothers and sisters in any way we can. Jesus then invites us to live lives of greater trust and vulnerability with those with whom we live.
The result of believing in Jesus, trusting in Jesus and living his teachings will be the experience of joy in our lives. The best way to experience happiness in our lives is to make someone else happy and the best way to experience joy in our lives is to help someone experience joy. You cannot put a price on that gift of joy–it is free and abundant, but only to those who live lives of love. This Mass is meant to be a joyful celebration of the selfless love of Jesus Christ that is made present to us through Word of God and Holy Communion. May it empower all of us here today to love others as Jesus has loved us, in response to being chosen by Him, to love.