Homily given during the Mass of the 5th Sunday of Easter (Seisen Intenationl School)
at Seisen Intenationl School
May 10, 2009
On the day of Pentecost the Apostles received the Holy Spirit as the Lord had promised. They also received the power of giving the Holy Spirit to others and completing the work of baptism. This we read in the Acts of the Apostles.
Bishops are successors of the Apostles and have this power of giving the Holy Spirit to the baptized.
Today I, Archbishop of Tokyo, am going to give the same gif as the Apostles received on the day of Pentecost to people of this community of Seisen International School.
You have already been baptized into Christ and now you are to be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit. So you must be witness before all the world to the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
In today’s Gospel of John, Jesus says:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cut away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make
it bear even more.”
And also he says:
“Make your home in me.” ”Whoever remains in me, bears fruits in plenty.”
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it.”
Jesus stresses repeatedly “Remain in me.”
In the second reading of the First Letter of John, the Apostle John says:
“Whatever we ask God, we shall receive, because we keep his commandments and live the kind of life that he wants.”
Jesus wants us to love one another as he loved the disciples.
Today I want to speak something very important for us Archdiocese of Tokyo.
Do you know the “Prayer for the Tokyo Cathedral and the Archdiocese?”
In this prayer we ask, “Dear Lord, please give to us of the Tokyo Archdiocese the grace to heal, animate and encourage, to give hope and companionship to the many people who are troubled and suffer in the wilderness of this present age.”
I clearly feel that we faithful of the Tokyo Archdiocese find ourselves in a wilderness or desert. Therefore I fervently desire that our church may become a spring, an oasis in this wilderness.
With this in mind I have set three priority issues for the Archdiocese.
(1) The spiritual growth of all believers engaged in the Church’s mission of evangelization.
(2) The growth of the Archdiocese as a multi-national church of mutual support.
(3) Companionship with people who suffer from deep psychological problems.
There are so many people who suffer from deep psychological problems.”
For 2000 years the Church has always supported people with psychological problems or psychic wounds in order to help them, heal them, or provide spiritual support. Jesus was truly a person of great healing power. The reason why we must take up this problem as a special priority issue is that we can see it clearly as “a sign of the times.” Many people suffer from excessively acute stress, bear deep psychological wounds, have lost their way and are deeply troubled. The church itself must become a spring and an oasis for them in their wilderness.
People need healing and support. I think we can do much by conversing with God through prayer and the liturgy, or through contact with people who have a compassionate and welcoming heart. The small things of daily life can be turned into great opportunities for mutual support.
Dear friend who are to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation,
I ask you to understand these priority issues, especially the third one, and try to put in practice whatever you can to help those who are suffering from this problem.