Today we might look up at the great sculpture of Christ above our main altar and call it “The Ascension of the Lord.” At the same time we might imagine ourselves to be those disciples who received his blessing as he was taken up into heaven. But now what? The original disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” to be found later, “continually in the temple praising God.” Well I dare say we will be found these days “continually in the temple,” but more likely there to attend confirmations, baptisms, weddings, funerals and, of course, Sunday Mass.
The month of May always begins with the Solemnity of Saint Joseph the Worker, which, even though I keep reminding us that we are “on our way to Pentecost,” in a few weeks we will also return to “Ordinary Time.” St. Joseph as a “bread earner,” models for us the sanctification of our day-to-day lives. As we come to celebrate “the birthday of the Church” in the gift and the indwelling of God’s own Holy Spirit, we realize that this is the reason for and the empowerment to make our ordinary lives holy, and well, extraordinaryliterally, for heaven’s sake!
Graduations are comingand all of those valedictorian speeches and honorary doctorates! Just how many times can you promise “ending world hunger,” “halting global warming,” and “realizing world peace”? What I want to hear from one of our Catholic valedictorians this year is a promise to end SIN. Is that asking too much?
Actually that is the “risen life” connection to today’s Feast of The Ascension of the Lord. Both the Ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father (and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, for good measure and to be gender-inclusive), is about freedom from sin and preservation from sin. NO SIN is exactly what qualified both Jesus and Mary to be taken up into heaven at the speed of light. Therefore I recommend to all confirmandi, first communicants, graduates, and all the rest of us that we focus on eradicating sin as the best gift to the world that we could possibly offer. If we do this, I guarantee that we will win the next “Survivor WORLD” and beat all the rest of the global-world healers and saviors to the finish line.
Happy Ascension of the Lord!
And Every blessing to the Classes of 2016 everywhere!