Ascension Sunday - May 13, 2018 (Thoman)

Ascension 2018

Acts 1:1-11 | Eph 4:1-7, 11-13 | Mk 16:15-20

“…live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness,
with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the
spirit through the bond of peace….”

I. “Leave the place better than what you found it.”

  • has anyone ever said that to you? Perhaps you have said it!
  • it sounds like something a good, German parent would say!
  • there’s a note in the Holy Ghost kitchen saying something to that effect.
  • not only would that apply to an article borrowed or a room used, so it would
    apply to the way in which I exercise stewardship over my own life and over
    the world in which I live
  • in other words, am I leaving the world in a better shape? What difference
    am I making? When I am gone, can it said that the world is a little better
    because I have been through it?
  • and as a Church, as a parish, how have we advance the mission of the Church
    this past year? Is the Church’s mission – given to us by Jesus – any more
    fully realized this year precisely because we have been part of it?

II. This is the sense of this Solemnity of the Ascension. The Ascension is a transition
moment: Jesus passes on his mission to his disciples – the infant Church. As I
said in the welcome to Mass, this day is not so much about the end of Jesus’
mission as it is about the continuation of our own mission.

As Jesus said to his disciples at the end of Mark’s gospel, “Go into the whole
world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” This is the mission given to
each of us and to all of us together as Church. As we come to the Ascension each
year, it is good for us to evaluate where we are in advancing the mission of Jesus
among us.

III. One of the newest ways I see us doing that here in the parish is through the
initiatives we’ve been taking in teaching about, and developing the concept of,
the “Domestic Church.” The Domestic Church is simply the Church as it is lived
out in the home. Each home is the smallest unit of Church – there, in the home,
the Christian faith is to be taught and lived out on a daily basis.

For the past two years our Evangelization team has been offering parents
suggestions for activities they can carry out in the home. We have been offering
these suggestions centered around some of the main seasons of the Church year:
for example, Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. Hopefully these suggestions
give parents ideas for advancing the mission of Christ in their own home.

IV. What are other ways we, as a parish, have advanced the mission of Jesus?
Perhaps we could point to our continuing efforts to practice the corporal works
of mercy: our red bag food program, our continuing clothe the naked project,
and our parish almsgiving project.

We could also point to our various adult faith formation offerings; such as
That Man is You and Bible and the Sacraments. But there is so much more we
could be doing.

V. And we can also evaluate ourselves individually: how have I found ways to
demonstrate my stewardship of time, talent and treasure?

  • do I willingly volunteer to participate in projects as they come along? There
    are a whole range of possibilities: from serving on parish committees…
    helping with parish social events….joining a liturgical ministry…helping with
    faith formation…buying SCRIP…there is something for everyone’s interest.
  • do I find ways to participate in the civic community? Do I help out with one
    of many social service agencies in our area – like the Mission, Catholic
    Worker House, Theresa Shelter, Maria House – or one of dozens of other
  • and most especially, how do I bring the compassionate message of Jesus to
    the people of my life? Do I have a relative or friend whose mobility has
    declined? Perhaps they are confined to a care facility or their home. Do I
    reach out to them? Call them? Visit them? Do I take the time to encourage
    someone who is discouraged or troubled? Do I listen and offer support and
  • how do I challenge those whose faith is weak? Or those who have fallen off
    the moral path and need to be reminded of what is right and true?
    Or do I just sit back and let all these things pass by?

V. This is all part of advancing the mission of Christ entrusted to us. It is a way of
living in a manner worthy of the call we have received. The mission of Christ in
in the world is ever present among us. It is never really completed, but
hopefully always growing and expanding.

How are you and I a part of that? How are we helping to make the world in
which we live a better place to be?

Are we living in a manner worthy of the calling we have received? Are we
coming to full stature in Christ?
Fr. Dwayne Thoman