Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (B)

Most of the time when we come to Mass we reflect on the meaning and purpose of having a soul, on the eventual destiny of our soul, and on how we relate to others and to God because we have a soul, but what about our bodies? What does it mean to have a body? And how should regard our bodies? What I want to reflect on today, the Ascension of our Lord is the profound connection between Christmas, when the Son of God took on human flesh, and the Ascension when He ascended back into heaven[1].

In his homilies and in his books Pope John Paul II teach us a lot about the meaning of having a human body; it was created to transfer into the visible reality of our world the mystery of God. Yes, I know, this is not easy to understand, indeed the Theology of the body is a little bit complex, however young adults, married couples, people of all ages and vocations are called to understand and value the true meaning of the human person, body and soul.

So, subsequent to His ascension Our Lord uses no feet to move among us, or tongues to proclaim His presence. He uses ours! This is a great reality: the treasure of God’s love has been deposited within us, in our earthen vessels as St. Paul said[2], in our bodies.

 You know, our society invites us to view the human body as an object of pleasure or as a machine for production and work. So what is the true meaning of our body? What does a body do for us?

Well, first of all, it locates us. Because we have a body we are located and made present. Others can reach us, know us, and love us because we have a body. We can’t love a fantasy. We can’t embrace a fantasy. We can, however, love and embrace another person because we have bodies. Because we have bodies we can relate to each other.

Then, our body allows us to communicate with one another, to share our thoughts, our vision, our caring and our hearts and minds with one another. Through our bodies we can enter into a bonded union with each other, we can enter into communion with each other. And finally –and this is the best part- because of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection, and because the Holy Spirit has been given to us, our body has been made into something holy, a temple in which God wants to dwell. In fewer words: we cannot live only for pleasure, we cannot live only of sensuality, and actually the excessive sensuality makes us insensible to the calls of the spirit. So, my brother, my sister, if you have problems with chastity, with purity, don’t feel bad; if you feel with many temptations around you and with a head full of monkeys screaming, do not be afraid, just say it in confession, and leave God to cleanse your soul, get the second or third or fourth chance that he gives you to receive the grace and joy.

Our belief is that because Jesus Christ ascended into heaven our ultimate destiny is to likewise ascend into heaven, this is simply wonderful. Life is too short. We were not created to be eternally on earth. Our life is in heaven. So in a few moments we will profess our faith that we believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting with God and in God because it is through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ that we will give God honor and glory forever and ever.

Today let us give thanks to God that He gave us a body, body for worship God a body which is a great help in expanding the kingdom of God. The body is not bad, because it comes from God. Sexuality is not bad, because it comes from God. We have to know how to use the body. We have to know how to use sexuality (actually sexuality is only for married people!), so today we invoke the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who we will receive next Sunday: the feast of Pentecost ■

[1] Sunday 20th May, 2012, Ascension of the Lord. Readings: 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. Ephesians 4:1-13 / Ephesians 1:17-23. Mark 16:15-20 [St Bernardine of Siena].
[2] 2 Corinthians 4:7. 
Illustration: Henri Matisse, Game of Balls (1908). 

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