The Ascension of the Lord
A Homily - A Cycle - 2013-2014
First Reading - Acts 1:1-11
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading - Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel - Mathew 28:16-20
Matthew wrote to show that Christ
Messiah and fulfilled the Jewish prophecies.
eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered
them. When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus
approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to
me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until
the end of the age."
Something strange happened while I was at Annapolis. One semester, I actually stayed awake in all my classes (well, most of my classes). One fateful semester, I actually studied real hard for my exams. One amazing semester, I actually wrote papers sooner than the night before. I wasnít in danger of making these things habits, but one unexpected semester, it all came together to create a situation where I merited a pin for good grades on my uniform, the Superintendentís List. Real Fancy. Nice pin. And totally exemplifying five months of nerdiness, so I took that pin and just dropped it into my shirt pocket - - - good humility, right? Thought so myself, until it was inspection time, and the Chief walks up to me and notices the pinís not there. Midshipman Dundon, where is your pin? Uh, right in my pocket chief. And why arenít you wearing it? Welllllll, you know, Chief . . . itís not exactly required for the uniform! In general, no, midshipman Ė but for YOU it is! You worked hard, you earned the pin, and now, you need to wear it. Your uniform stands for a whole lot more than yourself, so donít be afraid, wear that pin with pride, and show others what theyíre capable of too . . . point taken, donít mess with Chief!
Multiply the power and magnificence and glory and importance a million billion times (and then some!), our Lord Jesus Christ similarly shows us what we are capable of as well. The time has come to go back to the Father. Itís time to go back where He came from. But, we notice, as Heís going back, Heís taking his humanity with Him! The Son re-joins the Father, and they prepare to send the Spirit in a few days, but again notice, as He returns to the glory of the Trinity, there is something really COOL about the Son now Ė Heís still man too! HUMANITY has been brought into the indescribable glory of the most amazing thing ever - - - the Holy Trinity, God Himself. Of ALL the things in creation, physical and spiritual, the ONE thing that is dignified to be brought into the splendor of the Trinity, is our human nature. Wow! What does that mean for us? EVERYTHING. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus now. So what are WE capable of now? Everything. Becoming like nothing less that God Himself.
But people need to know about Him. So the marching orders are given. GO, make disciples of all nations. Iíve got the power, and now, I send you, brothers and sisters, make disciples! Teach them to observe everything that I have commanded you. Obey everything Iíve commanded you. The commandments have been mentioned a few times the past few Sundays. What are they? Put in Jesusí own words Ė love the Lord your God with your soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Two commandments that apply to everything we think, say or do. Two commandments that make US like the one whoís ascending today. Not too hard to share, so GO! Share this good news!
However, perhaps weíre like the first apostles who worshipped this Lord of ours, who is ascending into Heaven, but as He does, they DOUBT. Theyíre AFRAID. Afraid of so many things. Afraid of the past, the present, the future, of what they became. Afraid of becoming what they could become. A characteristic which haunts us as well. So they and we need a little courage, a little help, from the Spirit of Love. Thatís why Pentecost next week is so important. And Jesus reminds us, even when we DO doubt, even when we ARE afraid - - - Heís always with us. Heís not leaving us. Saints of the Church said that one of the most important things we can reflect on is that God is present in our midst. No matter what has happened or what we have done, God is HERE. WITH US. NOW. Can we help someone we know, let go of their fear? Can we remind someone else that they are loved by God? Can we imitate this love, and pray for them from the depths of our heart in silence? Can we go up to someone we love (like our intercessory prayer team does) and pray WITH them, out loud? Can we be then start acting like the Lord TODAY, and say those amazing words, I forgive you?Ē Brothers and sisters, itís time to make disciples. Itís time to remind others who they are, and where they are. Weíre on the way to greatness beyond imagining. We are destined for goodness that transcends words. God, give us the strength to help end all fear, help us share your commandments of love, so that others might realize how much they really ARE capable of becoming. Jesus has gone home . . . OUR HOME. Thatís right. Dear Lord, help us bring others home as well. Amen.