19th Sunday of the Ordinary Time & Inurnment of +Abp. Ricardo M. Alcaraz – August 13, 2023 –
First Reading: Jonah 2: 1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 29
Second Reading: Romans 10: 6-11
Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:22-33

Homily by His Beatitude +Abp. Craig W. Bates, Patriarch of the Charismatic Episcopal Church

This Sunday holds exceptional significance for the people in the Cathedral Church of Saint Michael.
Patriarch Bates opens his homily with an encouraging reminder. Amidst challenges and seemingly adverse circumstances, God takes those that are seemingly not good and converts them, using them for His greater glory. Despite the suffering, heartbreak, persecution, and trial, the Church stands firm, for Jesus assured us that despite such trials, faith should remain unwavering as He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).

Recounting Memories Shared with Abp. Dick
The Patriarch’s interactions with Abp. Dick have left a treasury of memories. Their first encounter occurred in California during the inaugural International Convocation in San Clemente. A specific memory that remains vivid took place during the Installation as Primate, where the clergies danced, and joyous voices sang “Happy Days are Here Again.”

Abp. Dick’s legacy embodies the heart of a true servant, characterized by his dedication to serving rather than seeking to rule over others. This Sunday is a day of expressing love and honor for Abp. Dick and thus, the Patriarch shares from 1 Corinthians 13. This epistle from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church, facing different challenges, was Paul’s pastoral call to “get their act together.”
Everything is passing away but these three remain: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13). These are eternal and will never go away. Our faith – where without Christ’s resurrection then our faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15:14); our hope – which is the resurrection; and love – the greatest of these. These are invisible and we can’t see them though we only see their consequences. The Spirit is like the wind. We cannot see it and it blows wherever it wants to (John 3:8). It is in these invisible things that we live our lives as Christians.

Love That Motivates and Empowers

This love, though invisible, motivated everything that Abp. Dick did. Jesus’ love motivated, encouraged, and empowered this man of God, not because he was perfect, or a great scholar. This divine love empowered his ministry and he wanted to love those around him. In the same way, God created us, male and female, so we can love one another. It’s the invisible things that bind us together. With a love like that, we begin to know what life is.

God calls us to participate in this love. The Church’s responsibility is to convey the message – “You are loved.”

Love cannot die in the grave. Love is eternal and thus, the Primate’s love has not stopped. Love, an intrinsic quality of God, remains undefeated. The archbishop’s love for Jesus and unwavering certainty in His reciprocating love defined his life. We may mourn as a sign of our love but today, he would want us to celebrate the love of Jesus – it’s so powerful that even if hate and evil put it into the grave, this love emerged victorious on a Sunday morning. Love conquered death.

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