The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord
There are many horrific stories told about the holocaust. One of the worst that I have heard is the story about a young boy. This young boy was caught doing good and as punishment he was killed by hanging. To make matters worse all the prisoners in the concentration camp were brought out into the square to watch the young boy being killed. As one prisoner witnessed what was happening he called out where is God now? Another prisoner pointed to the little boy and he said he is hanging there.
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. We celebrate the day when Jesus ascended to the Father and opened the gates of heaven for us. Today is the feast of God's trust in us. Jesus entrusts the Good News to us to go and live and preach. Today Jesus invites us to believe in him. He invites us to be his presence in the world. When we are the presence of Jesus in the world, when we believe in Jesus we can overpower evil, we can encounter danger, we can communicate in a way that everyone understands and we can touch those who are weak and heal them. This is the evidence, Jesus tells us in the gospel today, of belief in him.
Where do we find this kind of evidence today? Where do we see the presence of Jesus in our world?
For many days last week the news was unbearable to watch. After the Ryan Report was released the horrific stories of what children had to endure in Industrial schools in Ireland was harrowing beyond words. These were innocent defenceless children. These were the weakest members of our society. They were being cared for by the State and the Church. What happened to them was unimaginable but all too real. Where was Jesus? Jesus was in the children. He was crucified in those innocent children. Please God they will get their resurrection now. They have waited long enough. That resurrection should contain apology, acknowledgement, and compensation. It should also contain a serious commitment to care for children and young people. However that is not enough. It should also contain a complete analysis and transformation of power structures, particularly within the Church, that enabled it all to happen.
The vocation of the Church and everybody in it is beautifully described in the second reading today from the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians. We are told to
Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience.
When we live like this we become aware of our own weakness and the weakness of one another. We become more and more aware that we need one another and that we need God. That is what brings us together and that is what enables us to be the presence of Jesus. It is only when we are like this that we will overpower evil and bring healing.
If we are consumed with worldly power and the desire for worldly power we will cause division, we will exploit, we will bully and we will be agents of inequality and destruction. Whether it is in the concentration camps of the Second World War or the Industrial Schools of Ireland or wherever what we have witnessed and what we probably continue to witness in different ways today is a horrendous abuse of the power.
When Jesus ascended into heaven he gave us no worldly power at all. In fact he left us when he was at his weakest in the eyes of the world. He had just been killed. However what he did leave us with was a share in his life and his Good News. If we really believe, that is more powerful than any worldly power.
Today is the feast of Jesus' trust in us. Please God we will humbly accept that trust and be his weak life giving presence in our Church and our society. Please God we will no longer desire worldly power but the power of God in Jesus Christ. Then we will be the evidence of Jesus' presence in the world today.
17th October 2017 We Are All One with You
7th September 2017 Gaps
20th June 2017 "Love is not loved."
25th April 2017 I Hope You Dance
21st March 2017 From Darkness to Dawn
27th October 2016 The Bright Field
27th June 2016 The Enemy Within
31st May 2016 The Little Way to The Almighty
25th January 2016 Love Immeasurable
11th November 2015 Letting Go
21st May 2015 The Gift of Loss
6th May 2015 Walls
24th November 2014 Leaning into Winter
24th October 2014 Crossing the Road
25th June 2014 Fetters of the Soul
30th April 2014 The Power of Gratitude
10th March 2014 The Darkling Thrush
11th February 2014 Spring
10th February 2014 Masks
3rd February 2014 Dancing in the Wind
21st January 2014 Chains of nostalgia
13th January 2014 Forgiving wrongs darker than death or night
7th January 2014 Singing out Loud
17th December 2013 CHRISTMAS FOUND
9th December 2013 Withering into the Truth
2nd December 2013 The Celtic Prayer Garden
25th November 2013 Missing Dates
18th November 2013 NEARER GOD’S HEART
12th November 2013 Night
27th April 2010 Healing God
25th November 2009 Our Poverty
1st September 2009 Which of the two tigers will win the fight?
1st June 2009 Be your own role model
25th May 2009 The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord
18th May 2009 Power of the real presence
7th May 2009 "Lessons I did not learn in School" - by Bill Gates
20th April 2009 JESUS RISES FROM THE DEAD
30th March 2009 The Long Walk to Freedom
23rd March 2009 Become a Friend
16th March 2009 Ireland in Identity Crisis?
9th March 2009 Love to Pray
2nd March 2009 Life - Giving Words
16th February 2009 Exclusion Policy
9th February 2009 Somewhere the Child
2nd February 2009 The Conversion of St Paul
12th January 2009 Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
22nd December 2008 A Christmas Parable by Louis Cassels
15th December 2008 Work – from In the heart of the Temple by Sr Joan Chittister
8th December 2008 Am I at home when the doorbell rings?
1st December 2008 Street Corner Christ
17th November 2008 How Did I Get This Busy?
10th November 2008 A Homily for The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – 9th November 2008
3rd November 2008 John O’Donohue taken from “Benedictus - A Book of Blessings”
27th October 2008 Charles Peguy 1873-1914, French poet and politician
20th October 2008 The following is an extract from a talk given by Bishop George Lungu of Chipata in Zambia in Africa, to the synod of Bishops being held in Rome this month.
13th October 2008 Excerpt from ‘A Door of Hope’ by Jean Vanier
6th October 2008 A Reflection on Matthew's Gospel 21:28-32
29th September 2008 The Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII