Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Homily - Ascension Thursday - May 14, 2015

Acts 1:1-11; Mk. 16:14-20

When I was a child, my grandparents used to visit us for the summer from Massachusetts.  When it came time for them to leave, of course, there were tears.  I remember once, my grandmother rolled down the window of the car, and said, “If we don’t go, we can’t come back.”  We were somehow consoled by these words.  We know that, though unseen, the bonds of love, and of longing, and of the hope of seeing our loved ones again, are very palpable.

Something like that happens in the Ascension of the Lord.  St. Augustine says that just as when He became human by the Incarnation He did not leave the Father, so when He returns to the Father He does not leave us.  Rather, He takes us with Him.  He ascends into heaven with our frail humanity.  By the sacraments, we have been incorporated in to Christ.  It is wonderful to think that part of us is already in heaven.  He is our Head, we the members.  Part of us is already there.  The prayers of this Mass ask that we may raise our minds to heavenly things, and that we may be participants in His divine life.

There is a scene in the Epistle in which, as our Lord ascends, two men dressed in white, angels, ask the disciples, “Why are you looking up to heaven?  The Lord Who has gone up will return just as He has ascended.”  We think of this as referring to the parousia, the return of the Lord at the end of time for the general judgment.  But we also know that, in the meantime, He comes down for us in many ways, in a supreme way in the Sacrifice of the Mass and in His presence in the Eucharist, in all the means to salvation which He has entrusted to His Church, and in the many ways that He has intervened in our lives, when we have seen the hand of God help us and direct us, which we may not be able to explain but of which no one can convince us differently.

The Ascension is an essential part of the Paschal Mystery.  At Easter, with the resurrection of the Lord—the same Lord who was crucified was raised and seen in His transformed and glorified Body, in which we participate in the great exchange which is the cross—at Easter we received our faith.  At the Ascension, we receive our mission.  The Lord charges the disciples to go forth and bear witness to all the world.  They do not yet fully understand.  They will receive understanding and power to go forth at the coming of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.

Not all of us have to be missionaries, but we all take part in the mission of the Church, each according to our vocation.  He ascends, but He does not go from us.  He gives us gifts and strengthens us to live as Catholics in the world, and to unite ourselves with Him in this Mass, united in love and communion, in longing, and in the anticipation of His return.