A preacher found three little boys sitting on a curb playing hooky from school. “Do you want to go to heaven?” he admonished them. “I sure do,” two of the boys answered, but the third replied, “No sir.” “What’s the matter? You mean you don’t want to go to heaven when you die?” “Oh, when I die!” exclaimed the youngster. “Of course I do, when I die. I thought you were getting up a crowd to go now.”
A pastor asked a student: At the end of school what do you want to do? – I want to do my Senior Certificate.
After your Senior Certificate what do you want to do? – I want to go to college.
After college what do you want to do? – I want to get a job.
Then what do you want to do? – I want to make big money.
What do you want to do after making money? – I want to build a big house.
After that what do you intend to do? – I want to get married.
What will you do after getting married? – I will have a family.
What will you do after having a family? – I will retire.
What do you want to do after you retire? – I want to take a rest.
What will you do after taking a rest? – I don’t know.
Will you die? – Oh yes, I will die too.
We are so busy doing things, achieving, making progress that we can forget what life is all about, preparing to meet God in heaven. The Ascension of Jesus reminds us that during our lives we are “only passing through” on this earth, as we say. We are pilgrims on a journey. Just as Jesus’ earthly life was temporary, and he ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father, so also our lives here are temporary, will come to an end, and we will meet God in the next life. The Ascension of Jesus reminds us in all of our busyness not to forget what life is all about. Remember that conversation with a student. What will you do next? The student had an answer for everything but never thought about dying and what would happen then. Part of the prayer in the letter to the Ephesians, the second reading is so beautiful.
“May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe…”
It is a most beautiful prayer and description of living life preparing for eternal life. The Ascension of Jesus reminds us that God has great plans for us that are out of this world.
May God our Father…enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you… You want the perfect house, the perfect car, in fact you want the best of everything. But in fact the best awaits us in the next life because God has planned the very best for us. The saints are promised glory in the next life. Whatever possessions or riches you have are nothing compared to the riches of heaven. The feast of Ascension gives us hope that we all will be with God the Father. This hope of being in heaven gives us all the purpose and meaning in life. This feast encourages to constantly work for the riches in heaven.
The Feast of the Ascension teaches us also the principle of ascending. Spiritual life, or life with the Lord, is a perpetual ascension, a constant development upwards, till we arrive at the life of perfection. It is a continuous relationship to heaven. The church tower gives us an idea about the direction upwards, toward heaven, and the ascension over the level of the earth and earthly things. Let all our focus in life be fixed toward heaven. Holy Spirit Lord will be there to help us.
Today we honor our moms and pray for them – living and deceased. You know that God gave ten commandments: three that refer to our relationship to God himself and seven to our neighbor. And who’s the first neighbor in the list? I think you remember: Honor your father and mother.
God knows, none of us have perfect parents. But he doesn’t say honor your parents if they are perfect. He simply says, “Honor them.” Honor can include many things: attention, esteem, recognition, credit, praise, care. It does not involve pretense, but it can require patience and pardon. We fallen human beings need to forgive one another, sometimes on a daily basis. The bottom line, though: Honor your father and your mother. We will have a special blessing for all the mothers at the end of the Mass. Happy Mother’s Day!