June 2, 2019: The Ascension of the Lord - Associate Pastor’s Corner
In some ways, the Ascension is a most practical feast. This day, where we remember the moment Jesus is taken up to be at the right hand of the Father, it may be seen, literally, as a pie-in-the-sky, but I see it differently.
It is quite easy in our culture today to look at religion with esoteric eyes. And if we put ourselves in the place of the disciples, we have purchase to do so. These men were gazing upon Jesus, with clouds whirling around him, witnessing something that had not been seen since the time of Elijah--a man being taken up to heaven. Of course the disciples were gazing into the sky--when was the last time you saw someone fly into heaven?
However, what do the angels tell the disciples? In a very gentle way, they tell them, get your heads out of the clouds--there is work to be done! Jesus will return in the way that he had left--prepare this world for the Second Coming of the Christ!
The angels instruct the disciples that the way to prepare for the Second Coming is not very pie-in-the-sky at all, but rather, very down-to-earth. That there is work to be done, and it is up to disciples to get the project running.
In fact, Jesus tells the disciples that they will be “clothed with power from on high.” Just as now-Father Andy Opsahl was ordained to the priesthood and clothed with the vestments of his new ecclesiastical office as a priest (this past Friday morning), so is each and every single Christian clothed with power to be effective witnesses of the Love, Mercy, and Light of Jesus’ care for us.
The Ascension reminds us that we have been clothed with power, with effectiveness, with mercy, with God’s love.
So what does this power look like? As post-Pentecostal Christians, what does it look like to be “clothed with power from on high”? For one, it is harnessing the confidence to witness to God’s love for us. As scary as it is sometimes, this power is the practical ability to tell others--through our actions and our words--what Jesus has done in my life. Whether it be teaching Catechism or volunteering at the soup kitchen, being “clothed with power” is having the practical ability to manifest Jesus’ love for me in an everyday way. Secondly, it this power is the ability to “travel”. Now, of course, I just got back from the preaching the Gospel in Hong Kong, so that’s a pretty obvious example. Yet, the great majority of us are called to leave the church building, to travel, to go out and tell others how much God loves me, and thus, loves you. Jesus promises that our witness will be effective and powerful. The Lord is confident in our ability to preach His name well, to our portion of the Kingdom. As we go forth from this church, let us do so with His power, His Mercy, and His Joy.
- Fr. Isaiah Mary
This weekend and next, you have noticed that we will have a guest preacher. We are in the midst of the St. Peregrine Novena, and we are glad to welcome back Fr. Allan White, O.P., of the English Dominican Province, our novena preacher. Please pray for his preaching, that it may be inspiring and effective, and for all those making this novena. St Peregrine and St Jude, pray for us!