Prayer is the soil in which saints grow: A homily for the Third Sunday of Easter (B)

Pope Francis document, known as an apostolic exhortation, entitled Gaudete et exsultate (Rejoice and be glad), is seen in this picture illustration taken at the Vatican

I’ve been thinking about prayer in relation to our readings.  Partly this is because I received in my email a great quote this week, and I edit it a touch: Prayer is the soil in which saints grow.  How true

In our first reading from Acts we hear about two guys, Peter and John, who had just been on a journey to the temple at the 3:00 hour of prayer. They happen upon this crippled man. Peter prays over him–and all the sudden the crippled man isn’t crippled anymore. Now people see this happen, and they begin to praise PETER…and then Peter launches into a speech.  We hear a part of it today. He says, “it wasn’t me! It was Jesus. I’m just a sinner like you.”  What strength Peter and John had–it was from prayer. It was prayer that gave them the power, the grace to do all they did.

Our gospel tells us about the two men after their beautiful experience on the road to Emmaus. They “recounted” the experience. They meditated on it, contemplated it….and Jesus “opened their minds.”  They prayed about it all.  And we don’t know a lot of what happens to these two men, but we know they go back to Jerusalem and spread the faith….all because they prayed.

In both cases we see this—-Prayer….then mission.

Prayer comes first.  I’m reading through Pope Francis’ new exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, the third one he’s written to date. Listen to what he says: “You too need to see the entirety of your life as a mission. Try to do so by listening to God in prayer.”  Pope Francis is saying that our life is a mission….we’re all here for a reason, or 10,000 reasons…we simply need to pray to figure it out!  PRAYER then mission.

Prayer makes saints.  Because prayer helps us to know our mission and gives us the strength to do it.  Otherwise we’re operating on our own strength and doing what we want.  Better rely on God’s strength and do what he wants.  Prayer makes all that possible

True for us as indivudals….true for families….true for churches……prayer is the soil in which saints grow