Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Homily Ascension of the Lord 2008

As we pause once again along the journey of this life
we gather to reflect upon the Word of the Lord
and to be nourished in the Lord’s living and abiding presence.
Each and every time we come to the holy Altar of God,
we are strengthened anew by the boundless and eternal presence of Christ
and reconnected to our true homeland in Heaven.

In a unique way, today’s feast of the Ascension reminds us
and that our high calling as Catholic Christians is to live for eternity.

Saint Paul constantly exhorts us in the prayers and readings of the Easter Season to
“Seek the things that are above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

We who are united to Christ as members of His Mystical Body
yearn to be with Him and to share in the glory and perfection
of the eternal kingdom of light and peace
where He now reigns at the Father’s right hand.

Because Jesus has ascended to Heaven,
those who love Him in truth have a place with Him in eternal glory.

Thus, the Ascension of the Lord is a moment in our Lord’s life
which is a source of tremendous grace and joy for us all.

Today’s celebration focuses our attention at the same time upward and outward:
upward on the glory of Heaven where Jesus now reigns
and outward on the mission entrusted to the whole Church.

The great commission to go into the whole world…
preaching, shepherding, and baptizing…
is given by Jesus to the Apostles immediately before His Ascension.

His command to the Apostles…and to us…to be witness of His love and truth…
is connected both historically and theologically to His Ascension.

These realties are not only close in historical succession
but they are related in their spiritual content
and in their significance for our lives as disciples in the 21st Century.

Thus, there is an inseparable union
between the demands of our faith in this world
and the eternal life of heaven to which everything is directed.

Our fulfilling of Jesus’ mission
is intimately connected to our yearning for Heaven where He now lives.

It is precisely because Jesus has ascended into Heaven
that the life we live in Him…and the work we do in His name
is given new meaning and greater purpose.

We do not live for this world alone but for eternity.
There is thus no separation…as some would have it...
between our heavenly perspective and destiny
and the mission of serving the needs of our human community.

The call to participate in the social justice mission of the Church
is not a call to neglect our heavenly inheritance.
It does not mean that in order to serve the bodily needs of others
we have to abandon the spiritual life, theological study, prayer, and liturgy.
The Christian life does not mean setting the Mass aside to fight for justice
or tolerating minimal participation in the liturgy
because somehow the work of service is more significant.

The Ascension teaches us that there is not separation in the Christian life
between our calling to meet the needs of others
and our commitment to keeping immersed in the spiritual life.

It is only with the nourishment of the Mass and prayer
that we have the strength to work for justice and peace.

It is only with a view to Heaven that our efforts find meaning,
for we are called to fill much more than the emptiness of bodily hunger.
We are called to bring the teaching of Christ's to the people of the world,
which alone can fill the longing of their hearts and souls.

We work in this world…but we live for Heaven.

Each time we come to Mass we are reconnected to the reality of Heaven’s glory,
where the Son of God sits at the right hand of the Father,
exercising His eternal priesthood in His Church.

The priesthood of Christ is manifested in essentially different ways
in the ordained ministers…and in the lay faithful of the Church.
Yet, without the participation of all members of the Body,
the Church struggles to fulfill its mission.

A head without truly active arms and legs bears little fruit.
Limbs without the shepherding of an ordained head are chaotic.

In all things it is Christ to whom we look for our source of truth and life.
Christ is the everlasting head of the Body.
Christ is the true celebrant of the Liturgy.
Christ is the real teacher.

In our unique and God-given vocations,
we must all remain rooted in the eternal realities of Heaven
as we strive to build up the human community on earth.

With souls nourished by the Bread of Heaven and the of the new covenant,
we shall go forth from this Mass to proclaim Christ
by our words of teaching and by the witness of our lives
All the while we live in hope…that in the fullness of time…
we shall live where Jesus now reigns.

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