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April 8, 2018 Divine Mercy Sunday

I see geese come back.  Is it a good sign that the winter is over?  Have you ever watched geese fly in a V-shaped formation?  While a thing of beauty to watch, the formation is essential to the geese for survival.  If you listen, you can hear the beat of their wings whistling through the air in unison.  And that’s the secret of their strength: the lead goose cuts a swath through the air resistance, which creates a helping uplift for the birds behind it. 

In turn, their flapping makes it easier for the birds behind them, and so on.  Each bird takes its turn at being the leader.  The tired ones fan out to the edges of the V for a breather, and the rested ones surge toward the point of the V to drive the flock onward.

If a goose becomes too exhausted or ill and has to drop out of the flock, it is never abandoned.  A stronger member of the flock will follow the failing, weak one to its resting place and wait until the bird is well enough to fly again.  Together, cooperating as a flock, geese can fly at a 71% longer range, with up to 60% less work.”

The first line of the reading of this Sunday from the Acts of the Apostles says, “the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and one soul…”  (Acts 4: 32). The unity in the Church makes the Church the best instrument of God’s salvation and the devil cannot break it. The apostles were a divided group during 3 years following Jesus and failed to stand up for him at his passion.  Judas Iscariot had his own agenda and hung himself.  Thomas had expected the assassination of Jesus from day one. Recall the time the Christ had proposed going to Bethany where the Temple’s police had a search warrant for Him. Eleven of the apostles ran scared and asked politely for a rain-check. Thomas shamed them all for being cowards by saying, "Let us all go that we may die with Him” (Jn 11: 16).  His faith told him it would be better to die with Jesus than live without Him. But his unbelief told him that once the Teacher died, he would stay dead and become a rotting corpse.  He made a big mistake by leaving the group then missed the first appearance of his Master.

We can learn from the First Christian generation and from the Canada geese in terms of unity.  Amid storms and criticism in the Church, if we all unite under the banners of the Risen Lord, we will glorify God.  What is true for the universal Church is also true for individual parishes.  Thanks be to God that you have believed together, worked together and supported each other in this parish.  May the Risen Lord bless you.