By Love's Hand

By Love's Hand

Fierce  Female Network And The We’73 Project

Vol 7 June 2024

Deacon Rick Benkovic’s June Homily

On summer vacation trips to Cape Cod, we would always make a stop in New Bedford, visit the whaling museum, and go inside the Seamans’s Bethel. Bethel is a Hebrew word meaning, “House of God.” In the classic novel and movie, “Moby Dick,” one scene takes place in the Seamans’s Bethel. The minister is preaching to crew members and their wives and children before they set sail on their annual whale hunt. He is standing in the pulpit, which is shaped like the bow of a ship, and he is preaching a powerful sermon. But there is a problem with his sermon. In the midst of it he says, “Shipmates, God had laid but one hand upon you. Both his hands press upon me.” What he said was un-Christian like and untrue. If you are an apostle of Jesus, if you have given yourself to Him, then both of His hands press on you as surely as they do on Father Gibbons, Father Kozak, and myself. Jesus’ words, “I have sent them into the world,” applies not only to the clergy but to you as well, as they did to the first apostles. The noun “apostle” derives from the Greek, which means “to send.” Everyone who is sent by someone is an apostle of the one who sent them. In the New Testament, the purpose for the sending is to carry on the mission of Jesus.

If we come to Church merely to get what we can out of the liturgy, we have not come prepared to be apostles of Jesus. If you have come here just to save your soul, you will fail. Some of us have been coming to Church all our lives hearing the great paradox Jesus tells us, that “Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will save it,” yet without a real understanding of those words.

In the Gospel according to John the word apostle never appears. Likewise, the Twelve apostles do not play the same role that they do in the three other Gospels. The people who best represent apostleship in the Gospel of John are the Samaritan woman at the well and Mary Magdalene–the common people, like you and I.

The question before us today is, do we show the same kindness and respect  to our loved ones as we do to everyone else we encounter in the world? If the answer to that question is “yes,” then you are an apostle of Jesus and you have been touched  by God with both of His hands.

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