Ascension Sunday

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Saint Jerome,

May the peace of the Risen Christ remain with you!

As we celebrate this weekend the Ascent of Jesus into heaven forty days after His Resurrection, we anticipate the celebration of Pentecost next weekend. In fact, we began our novena preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) last Friday wherein our communal devotion of the Holy Rosary continues to direct our meditation on the coming of the Holy Spirit. This is a good way for us to be reminded about the role of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity as the invisible agent of God’s saving work. It is interesting to consider that the Ascent of Jesus into heaven and the Descent of the Holy Spirit are two complementary events that assure the world of Jesus’ promise as emphasized in the conclusion of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, “I will remain with you always until the end of time.” As Jesus left us physically to be united with God, the Holy Spirit reunited with us on Pentecost, and the Church was born with the teachings that Jesus entrusted to the Apostles.

We are assured that Jesus will continue to intercede for us before the throne of His Father. The offerings that we bring to the Altar of Sacrifice each time we are gathered for Mass are being sanctified by Jesus Christ the Divine High Priest who is now seated at the right hand of God through the priesthood that we all have shared in baptism and through the ordained ministry. The Ascension is the culminating event in the life of the Church because it offers us a certainty that our prayers are heard by God the Father through Jesus. It only makes sense that all our common prayers in the liturgy end with the phrase, “And we ask all these in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.”

Just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus left us a mission. “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.”  The Good News that we ought to proclaim is the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the forgiveness of sins. It is not simply a spectacular event that is worth remembering for the sake of history and commemoration. The Good News is life! It is alive! We are the beneficiaries of the Good News! We are the result of the Resurrection! It is the humanity in us that Jesus shared in at the moment of His Incarnation, the event of the divine exchange that continue to exist, to struggle, to thrive and to achieve what God would like us to accomplish according to the mission that He has entrusted to each of us.

Thus, it is important that our life’s journey be a visible testimony of our profession of faith day in and out–in church, at home, at work and in the streets. This mission is difficult. It requires a much deeper understanding of our identity as adopted children of God. It is only through and by our clearer vision and understanding of who we are as sharers in the life of God that His mission in us will come to completion.

The Sacraments that we celebrate as marking moments of our lives provide for us the supernatural grace to keep us going each day. Yes, the Sacraments simply grant us the graces that we need so that our thoughts may remain centered on the source and summit of the fullness of God’s presence. We do not celebrate the Sacraments as mere rituals; rather, we celebrate them so that we can all enter the dimension of the Divine. And so, the Ascent of Jesus into heaven bridges the connection between God and each of us through the Sacramental graces that we receive each time we are gathered to celebrate them. The Holy Spirit remains as the agent of true charity that inspires, gathers, heals, and consoles all of fragile humanity as we are called to proclaim the mission that Jesus has entrusted to us.

As we are sent, we ought to go. By going, we carry with us our faith. We share with others what we are hoping for. Then we live each day as Christians whose identity is known in the spirit of loving service to others for their benefit and salvation, in time and in eternity.

Congratulations to our Confirmands this coming Saturday! I hope that their families and our faith community will continue to assist them to become responsible and joyful witnesses to the Gospel.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,