Father Nathan Homily | May 24, 2020
Father Nathan | Homily
7th Sunday of Easter
The Ascension of the Lord
First Reading — ACTS 1:1-11
Responsorial Psalm — PS 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
Second Reading — EPH 1:17-23
Gospel Reading — MT 28:16-20
“I will be with you always, to the very end of time”
You be my witness
The ascension of Jesus is the climax of his victory over sin and death. It is the day of joy and hope. Jesus wants us to share in his victory. It’s important to realize that he has not left us, but is still with us, helping us in our struggles.
Resurrection and ascension, and the giving of the spirit are part of the same event. In one action that Jesus goes beyond earthly time, Jesus emerges from the tomb, returns to the father, and gives the spirit.
However, from the viewpoint of the first disciples, who continued to live on within time these actions described as having taken place at different times. They are found the tomb empty on Sunday morning, the risen Lord appeared to them on that day, or subsequently, the termination of the appearances caused them to realize that Jesus was now permanently with God and they receive the spirit.
The theological meaning of this feast expressed in the second reading. God has glorified Jesus, raising him above all earthly powers, and making him Head of the church and the Lord of all creation.
During the years of Jesus’ public ministry Jesus ate and drank in the company of the apostles. They experienced his love and care every day. In many ways he was just like one of themselves. Did the ascension mean that he had left and ended all this intimacy and familiarity? The answer is Yes and no.
Jesus is No Longer With The Apostles
Jesus would no longer be physically present to them, but he had not left them entirely. He had simply taken on a new role, assumed a new position. After many years of humble labor and dangerous struggle, Jesus is crowned with glory by his heavenly father and became lord of all creation.
For those who have faith, Jesus now is closer to them than ever and a better position to help them.
The Promise Of the Holy spirit + Universal Presence
The gospel ends with Jesus’ promises that to remain with his disciples always, right to the end of time. The ascension of Jesus is His liberation from all restrictions of time and space. It does not represent his removal from the earth, but his constant presence everywhere on earth. During his earthly ministry he could only be present in only one place at a time. If he is present in Jerusalem he was not in Capernaum, if he was in Capernaum he was in Jerusalem. But now that he is united with God, he is present wherever God is present, and that is everywhere. He is present all over the world.
The first Christians understood this very well. They know that Jesus was still with them, even if not in the same way before. They believed he has still shared their lives, and that death would mean to them being with him glory forever. In the meantime he was relying on them and now relying on us to make sure that the gospel was preached and lived.
Jesus had preached the gospel only to Israel. But now he commissioned the apostles to preach the gospel to all nations. It was a daunting and intimidating task.
But he promised that he would send them the Holy Spirit. He also assured them that he would be with them always. “I will be with you always: Yes to the end of time.
The action of Jesus is his liberation from all the restrictions of time and space. It doesn’t mean represent his removal from the earth. But his constant presence everywhere on earth.
Other than the promise to be with his apostles, he gave them the courage and strength to face whatever difficulties lay ahead.
A sense of the presence of Christ with us doesn’t change the world for us, but it can give us the courage to face it. God’s closeness shields us against a sense of abandonment and despair. In spite of the grave failings of his followers, and many terrible persecutions, the gospel has come down to us across two thousand years.
The explanation for this surely lies in the promise of Jesus
“I will be with you always, to the very end of time.”
The promise and assurance of Jesus that he would be with us always, we are called to remember as we meet with this pandemic situations. He will be with us always.
Jesus Counts on Us to Be Witnesses
Jesus depends upon us. We are his witnesses before the world. It’s a daunting and intimidating task but it’s also a great privilege. When we witness to the truth, justice, love, and peace we are witnessing to Jesus. The way to witness to hope is to live hopefully. The way to witness to the truth is to live truthfully. The way to witness love is to live the lovingly…
In short, the most effective way to witness Jesus is to live a Christian life. We can draw encouragement from what mother Theresa said
“I do not pray for success, I pray that I may be a faithful witness”
Stay safe and be reassured that God is with you in this time of crisis and isolation!
Stay connected to others during this time through phone, email, and social media.
Have a Blessed Week,
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