The Ascension of the Lord (c)

In today’s first reading, in the Acts of the Apostles, and repeated in today’s Gospel, Jesus appears to his disciples. His body is not a resuscitated corpse [I mean] He appears in the power and might of God, and then He ascends into heaven and, just as in the case of Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, His Power descends upon the apostles; Jesus’ Power is the Holy Spirit[1].

After the Ascension there were two men are watching the disciples gazing up into heaven. Men of Galilee, they ask, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? My brother, my sister, we have not been called by Christ simply to be observers of His Life. We have not been called simply to be historians. We have been called to continue His Power. Joshua called on the Lord and the walls of Jericho fell down[2]. We have been called to continue the work of the Lord. We can call upon the Lord, and his Power will work through us to transform the world into the Kingdom of Love.

This is the time of year that people are listening to speeches at high school and college graduations. Invited guests and principals tell the graduates to build on their last four years and use their education to make the world a better place. This is great. The Ascension can be understood in the same terms. We have been brought from spiritual childhood to assume an adult responsibility in the Kingdom of God. We are not dependent upon what we have learned. We have so much more. We are the disciples who have been entrusted with the Spirit of God to serve His People.

Sometimes loneliness overwhelms us. It overwhelms everyone at times. Sometimes we think about our mistakes, our sins, and we become despondent. Everyone at some time or other asked himself or herself, “How could a person like me, a person who is inclined to sin do God’s work?” Look, everyone suffers from crippling guilt at times in his or her life. Everyone makes the mistake of letting the past destroy the present and eliminate the future.

When we feel we are all alone, when we feel that we are not good enough, we need to remember that Jesus did not ascend and then leave us destitute. No, He left us with His Power, His Presence: the Eucharist. His presence... is REAL! And he didn’t leave us to spend the rest of our lives contemplating our belly buttons. No, He empowers us to bring His Presence to all, beginning with our families our neighborhood and then extending to the entire world. The people you meet in your community or in your daily work may not hear the Gospel if they do not hear it from you. They may not see an example of Christian living unless they see it from you[3].

Pope Benedict XVI has described our cultural moment—and the challenge we are confronted with—in these poignant terms: “The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects. Leading men and women to God, to the God who speaks in the Bible[4].

Moses’ hands were laid upon Joshua; Elijah’s mantle fell upon Elisha; and the Holy Spirit descended from the Father and Son. May we have the courage to continue the Work of God ■

[1] Sunday 16th May, 2010, The Ascension of the Lord. W. Acts 1:1-11. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord—Ps 46(47):2-3, 6-9. Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23./ Ephesians 1:17-23. Luke 24:46-53.
[2]Cfr  Joshua 1-6.
[3] Cfr The Most Reverend José H. Gomez, S.T.D., Archbishop of San Antonio, You Will Be My Witnesses: A Pastoral Letter to the People of God of San Antonio on the Christian Mission to Evangelize and Proclaim Jesus Christ, n. 10
[4] Pope Benedict XVI, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Remission of the Ex-communication of the Four Bishops Consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre (March 10, 2009).
Ilustration: Flemish miniaturist, The Ascension of Christ (1450-75), Illumination on parchment, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Den Haag. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris