Homily by Father Paul Wharton
These words are partially my own and a writer whose identity is unknown.
His work had begun when
Jesus embraced our human condition
by becoming one of us,
making our weaknesses his own,
walking in our footsteps,
traveling our roads,
experiencing our pains, feeling our fears,
embracing our limitations even to the point of
facing our ultimate enemy, death itself.
Just when death had seemed to get the last word,
his Father had spoken an even more powerful word.
And when God spoke that word, death was defeated —
it gave up its grip on the lifeless, mangled body of Jesus
and he burst forth from the tomb radiant with new life.
The risen Lord appeared to the apostles and disciples
and spent time with them in preparation.
Jesus returned to his Father where he intercedes for all of us.
He will come again in glory with the fullness of salvation.
Until that time or the hour of our death,
There are three directions for us to look:
First, Ascension is about looking up to heaven
where Christ is, our hope and our joy
who lives and reigns in glory and majesty.
Our liturgy today reminds us:
“Christ… has passed beyond our sight,
not to abandon us but to be our hope.
Christ is the beginning, the head of the Church;
where he has gone, we hope to follow.”
Second, we need to look inside to our hearts.
Saint Augustine preached these words:
“Christ ascended before the apostles’ eyes,
and they turned back grieving,
only to find him in their hearts.”
The Letter to the Ephesians urges us:
“May the eyes of [your] hearts be enlightened,
that you may know
what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones”
Saint Paul writes to the Galatians,
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (2:20)
Finally, looking up to heaven or into
the recesses of our heart are not enough.
We must turn outward.
The ascension is not only about
Jesus’ mission being accomplished,
it’s not only about meeting
the Christ who dwells within us,
it’s also about the launching of a mission —
our mission — the mission of the Church.
The words of today’s gospel are clear.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”
There is work to be done,
a world to be transformed,
a gospel to be preached, and,
like it or not, this task of each and everyone of us.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is counting on us . . . SO . . .