June 5, 2011
Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mt 28:16-20
The Preface of the Eucharist Prayer for major feast often provides a good summary of the Church’s Teaching for the given day. It is always a prayer that helps us express our gratefulness to God and today, on the Feast of the Ascension this is especially true. It reads as follows: “Father, all powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. Today the Lord Jesus, the king of glory, the conqueror of sin and death ascended to heaven while the angels sang his praises. Christ the mediator between God and man, judge of the world and Lord of all, has passed beyond our sight, not to abandon us but to be our hope. Christ is the beginning, the head of the Church; where he has gone, we hope to follow. The joy of the resurrection and ascension renews the whole world while the choirs of heaven sing for ever to your glory…”
These words of the preface remind us that we are first of all grateful; Jesus is the mediator between God and man. It is only through the Eternal Divine Word of the Father assuming our flesh and freely redeeming us on the Cross that we are able to appreciate the gift of life and long for the fullness of life in heaven. We know that our heavenly judge is not a distant God who does not understand our human nature, but one that is like us in all things but sin. A judge who has continually proven His love for us and thus we are confident that we will be received with compassionate fairness.
We are also grateful that Jesus has passed beyond our sight, not to abandon us, but to be our hope. Last Friday we graduated 128 seniors from our High School and next Thursday we will be graduating 54 Eighth graders from our elementary school. I always feel that graduations are very similar to the Ascension of our Lord. It would be great to remain in relative security of grade school or high school forever, however, in order to fulfill the purpose of their school formation our young people must move on to the next step in their lives. As they make this important step in their lives they are less and less under our constant care and guidance and it is our hope that the values that we have attempted to install in them will be the foundation for all of their decisions. We know, however, that unless we physically let them move on they will never fully embrace their new found responsibilities.
This leads to the third point of the Preface; it is Christ who is the “beginning, the head of the Church; where he has gone we hope to follow.” As the eleven Apostles are watching Jesus Ascend into heaven in the first reading the Angels look down and say, “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” (11). This is often the sentiment of graduates immediately following their graduation; they are looking around and trying to figure out “okay, what next?” Simply, the Angels respond, “GET TO WORK”! Their time of standing around listening to Jesus is over, now is the hour for them to put his teachings into practice.
At the end of today’s Gospel this is made alive in the admonition of our Lord. “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” (Mt. 28: 18-20). We have graduated and have been sent out by Christ to WORK! It is our role to: (1) Baptize: bring all to the grace and love of our Lord through the sacramental life of the Church. We are the ones called to open the doors of grace to those around us starting with our children. (2) Teach: by our words and actions we are being sent into the world to constantly proclaim the good news to all. (3) Hope: Where Jesus has gone we hope to follow. We keep one eye on heaven our Goal and the other eye here on the road as we continue our journey until we arrive at our eternal port.
ó Today is the Young Adult BBQ at the Rectory Large Conference Room Downstairs at 6pm. All young adults ages 21-35 are welcome to come by!
ó Please join us next Sunday, June 12 at the 10:30 Mass we will again be celebrating our Multi-cultural Pentecost Sunday Mass with a reception following. This Multi-cultural, multi-lingual Mass reflects who we are as Mary Star of the Sea Parish distinct from any other parish in the Archdiocese for our diverse and dynamic cultures. We will also be honoring the recipients of the Mary Star of the Sea Volunteer Awards for 2010. There will be no Spanish, Croatian or Italian Mass on this day so we may unite as one parish.
ó We are sad to announce that after serving our parish and Elementary School for 18 years, Fr. Patrick Foutts will be leaving our school at the end of the year. He will be celebrating the 9am Mass on June 19th and we will be having a reception for him following the Mass in the Auditorium. Please join us as we celebrate and remember his years with us.
Rev John F. Provenza