Word from the Pastor

May 29, 2022

A blessed feast of the Ascension to all of you!

The Ascension of our Lord in plain view of the apostles, as eye-witnesses, speaks volumes about the fact that Heavenly glory is the goal of life.

The risen Christ spent 40 days appearing to his beloved disciples, reminding them of all that He taught them, intellectually and spiritually equipping them for the pilgrimage ahead, and the ultimate journey of life. In short, Jesus gave them "kingdom vision," a spiritual way of interpreting life so that they (and we) might see the life we live in the light of eternity.

So often we settle for earthly realities that we presume will surely satisfy us. Yet, the inner restlessness that we all feel regarding the profound purpose and meaning of life always propels us to seek more, to seek the transcendent, to be drawn to Jesus' words and promises. We are all in church today because we are searching, questing, longing, and hoping for more than what the world alone offers. As good and beautiful as God's good creation may be, Jesus says quite clearly, "where I am going, you are to follow." It is the Ascension that makes this clear. And through it, the Risen Christ reveals our heavenly homeland.

Simultaneously, our reading from the Acts of the Apostles presents the stupefied disciples as staring upward, watching Jesus ascend in His power as God upward into the clouds. So impactful was that moment that their amazement, no doubt, left them speechless. They likely wanted to savor the moment and continue to stare, to contemplate, and "enjoy" the sight. But the angelic figures dressed in white asked them, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into Heaven will return in the same way as you have seen Him going into heaven." From there, of course, they returned to Jerusalem, and the account contained in the Acts of the Apostles tells the story of their courageous witness to Christ and their heroic work in spreading the Good News, and founding the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It is the understatement of the year to say that we are, indeed, privileged to be among its members.

The personal knowledge of Christ by the Apostles, their eye-witness encounters with Him as risen, their presence at the event of the Ascension, and the impulse of the Holy Spirit launched them into action. The "Barque of Peter" began to take shape. The Acts of the Apostles records this history. The Church and its saving Sacraments would be, until the end of time, the continuing saving presence of the eschatological redeeming love of God for His people, a catalyst that would bring the waters of salvation to all who are willing to partake. As Pope Francis has said, "we need the Church; we cannot encounter Christ without the Church." It is in the Church, in its sacramental life of grace, in the midst of the community of believers, and guided by those who have been given the charism by the Holy Spirit to safeguard and guide the flock in the ways of truth that Christ is encountered, His Kingdom built, and our salvation assured. But...we cannot just look upwards. We have to embrace an active posture of faith, which involves us concretely in spiritualizing the reality of our lives on a daily basis in the light of eternity.

How's our "kingdom vision"? Do we live and interpret our lives grounded in the reality of Christ?

May our pilgrimage ahead make ever more clear the ultimate meaning of our life of faith to the glory of God.

Father Davis