The Ascension Of The Lord
>>It’s a beautiful ending to the to the gospel of Matthew here, the ascension we celebrate today.
Lord, he says, “I’m with you always until the end of the age.” Deep consolation there. Baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son of the Holy Spirit. So, he gives us the Trinity really hadn’t been known up until that point. And then he says, “All power in heaven on earth has been given to me.” So that Christ, now we know for sure, is God and is God in heaven.
It’s a short ending, but it certainly packs a punch. It’s something we can really pray with. Each of those three points, The life of Christ, I guess you could say, was it was two short, 33 years, of course, is what we traditionally believe was his age when he when he died, rose and ascended to heaven. And really only three years was he was he publicly exercising his ministry.
In fact, though, in Matthew, Mark and Luke, they really only have it as one year. So the greatest man who’s ever lived, the greatest love of our life, only one year really, and the rest of the time was hidden in obscurity. It kind of leaves us wanting for more. Doesn’t it?
When I was being, when I was in seminary – the school to be trained to be a priest – we have a class in how to preach, homiletics. Taught by Father Scott Donohue. No kidding. But he is a good preacher. But I remember the professor said to us one time, he says, “Leave your people wanting for more.” In other words, give a short homily. Don’t go on and on, so that like the people have been through combat. But make it short, leave them wanting for more better. Better to have them wanting for more than feeling like they’re overfed.
So, Christ leaves us wanting for more. And so, we’re to continue on this story, if you will, by our own connections to Jesus Christ, by our own revelations into who God is, our experiences of consolation when we pray, even of desolation, when we struggle in life, experience the cross. There’s a lesson to be learned in that.
So for ourselves, but then to share this, so Jesus go forth and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So we’re not just called to be passive recipients of the Word or of the experience of God in our own prayer life. We’re called to be evangelists. Evangelists to evangelize, that is to talk about the gospel to people who really don’t know about Christ or who aren’t really convinced that having Christ as an essential part of their life is worth it.
So, you know, I’m I obviously a priest called to be an evangelist and to tell you by my own experience that Christ is the greatest love of your life, you might have spouses or friends, children that you love. And those are all great, maybe pets, whatever. But Christ is better than anything you could ever imagine. And if you can give your heart to him in prayer, you’ll be swept away in a love that will fill your life with deep meaning and satisfaction. I again can witness to this. I wasn’t born a priest. It didn’t come out of my mother’s womb as a priest. I lived a pretty ordinary average life and, you know, grade school, high school, college, and heard this call that completely transformed me. And I’m grateful to be a priest. And you’re not necessarily called to be priest yourselves, but you are called to be in this intimacy with our Lord.
So I encourage you to do that, but then to share that with others. So we fret these days, you know, why don’t our grandchildren believe? Why don’t people come to church more? Why do our neighbors, you know, say they’re Catholic, but they don’t really do anything with their faith? Well, maybe instead of just kind of, you know, lamenting that we actually can take it upon ourselves to preach to them, not like forcing it down their throats, knocking on the door or whatever. But have you ever maybe talked about or shown how much you love Jesus and why that’s so important? The way I’m doing right now, Maybe you could do that. Maybe that could inspire them. That could be the thing that takes them over the edge. You can do it. Don’t be afraid. You have the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is also what something Jesus says. Within you, the Holy Spirit. He’ll convert hearts and he’ll speak through you. And all this is possible because of today, the ascension. And so, we give thanks to God for the life that He lived, the life that he continues to live in us and in his people, the church.
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