Ascension Sunday Homily – Fr. Rick Sherman – May 24, 2020
Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:17-23; Mt 28:16-20
It seems this feast of the Ascension must commemorate one of the more horrifying experiences of the Apostles. Remarkably, some still doubted that the resurrection had actually occurred, despite the many signs and teachings Jesus had given them. THEN with all the authority and power of Heaven Jesus commissions them to go forth to make disciples of all nations. GULP.
This is all happening before the Holy Spirit has come to them so their minds or the ‘eyes of their hearts’ are not quite ready. The apostles will need a much higher dimension of consciousness in order to complete the mission Jesus has given them, the Church, to accomplish.
The readings should leave us with a very clear reminder of just how inept we humans will be at the mission of the Church without actually receiving and cultivating the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We can’t even frame in our minds the mission to evangelize the world without ‘the eyes of our hearts being enlightened.’ Only then will we ‘know what is the hope that belongs to His call.’
Jesus came into the world ‘in the fullness of time’, a time when the major cultures of Greece, Rome and Jerusalem had come to coexist in the same place. Together these cultures would ultimately lead to a new vision of civilization. The very circumstances of the age demanded a new consciousness in order to proceed with God’s plan of salvation. God wanted to save all of humankind and had given the apostles ‘all the power and authority of Heaven’ to get the job done. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the apostles would go forth as a new Church and with a new level of Wisdom and authority, the Spirit of Truth. The changes in the world would be cataclysmic.
We also are living in a time of great change and an especially great need of God’s Wisdom and Authority. All of a sudden there seems to be many more questions than credible answers. The world is ripe for a new blast of Spirit which come into the world the same way as it did 2000 years ago……from God through us.
As we approach Pentecost next week, let us consider how we have cultivated God’s Wisdom and go forth prepared to teach in our age amid the fear and confusion. The need is great; God is greater.