Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
Readings: I Peter 2:11-17 and John 16:16-22
"Beloved, you are strangers and in exile."
I was born in Holland and emigrated to New Zealand and then moved to Australia later in life. Travelled through a lot of other countries as well and no wonder I felt as though Saint Peter in the first reading was speaking to me when he was saying, " You are strangers and in exile".St. Peter is saying that we are strangers, we are exiles. Don't get to comfortable with this place because this is not your true home. Your true home is in heaven. Your true home has been prepared for you. Jesus said, "I go before you to prepare a place for you. . . In my Father's house there are many mansions."
This year my family and I moved from one house to another. Upon arrival that evening, I sat in the lounge among the boxes just looking at them, meditating on them, "What mysteries will they unfold as we open them because I can't remember where I packed anything." You know the feeling. But I began to think also that as fine as this new house is, it's not our true home. We'll be strangers here as we were strangers in the other place as well. I don't mean it to be maudlin. I don't mean
it to be sad. I certainly don't mean it in some puritanical way, that everything of the world is somehow evil. No. But I do try to understand, as I would have you understand, that as we are so comfortable with our surroundings, is not our true
home. Our true home is much more wonderful than what we have now. And the possessions that we have! Boxes and boxes of them. "Why did we keep all this stuff?" The question always arises at this point. We are always so reluctant to let
anything go, as though it were ours, rather than entrusted to us by God for a period of time. I believe one could make quite a meditation on a stack of boxes. I think you and I could consider very carefully as we walk about our homes this
afternoon, "It's good to be here in this home and yet we are strangers. We are aliens in an alien land. Our true home is in heaven."
It's an essential part of our understanding. No wonder the apostles couldn't figure out Jesus when he was telling them in the Gospel reading, "In a little while you shall see me. And again in a little while you shall not see me. I am going to the Father." He was talking about his death when they would not see him, and his resurrection, when he would be visible to them again. He was going to present this world to the Father. All of us. All of what we are and all of what we have, he gives to the Father. He surrenders it to the Father. And you and I are a part of that sacrifice, of that gift. We do not hang on and say "Father". It is to be surrendered to the Father in sacrifice.
What a simple idea can be born of a move. What a simple idea can come from traveling to a foreign land. The simple idea is: why did God make me? God made me to know him, to love him and to serve him in this world and to be happy with him
forever in the next. Our true home is with God our Father.
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston on Tasmania