The Ascension is the celebration of the return of Jesus after the Resurrection to the Father in heaven. St. Augustine said it well when he taught that just as Jesus remained with the Father in heaven, even during his earthly life and ministry, likewise, Jesus did not abandon us on earth when he ascended to heaven. There is a great unity at the heart of the Trinity, and because of the Incarnation, the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, believers now share in the Divine Life itself.
Through the Incarnation, Jesus took up our human condition by taking a body like ours. The same human body rose from the dead and ascended into heaven in the person of the Risen Jesus. There is cause for great hope and inspiration here!
Do we recognize heaven as our true home? Do we identify ourselves as members of Christ’s body? This is what it means for us to live daily with dignity and grace.
In the days between the Ascension and Pentecost, we recall the beginning of the Church as the Apostles with Mary waited for the promised Holy Spirit. Every year since that time, during the same period of time, we experience a renewal, a regeneration of the same Church, by the same Holy Spirit.
Just before Jesus returned to the Father, he gave the great commission to the Apostles, which continues as THE MISSION of the Church down through the ages.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28: 19-20)
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1: 8)
Our mission is to bear witness to Jesus Christ. Our goal is heaven, where we will celebrate in an intimate communion with the Trinity and all the holy ones. We glorify God now with our life of witness, and will enjoy the fullness of God’s glory at ‘the end of the age’.
Recalling this fundamental MISSION of the Church, it is not hard to see the connection with Mother’s Day and the Domestic Church.
As this readership knows, my own Mother passed into her eternal rest this past January. I do not hold much grief on this first Mother’s Day without her, because what she taught us in the home, what she celebrated in faith, she now enjoys in full reality.
The home is the Domestic Church, and parents are the primary teachers of faith to their children. In reality, this role is most often carried by mothers. Our mother’s give us the gift of life itself, and through their instruction in the Fatih, we receive the life of grace. The home is where this primary MISSION of the Church continues.
To all our Mothers, thank you for the gift of life, for your witness of faith, and for the gift of faith. Thank you for making sure we, your children, received the faith and the sacraments, and the life of Jesus Christ. Thank you for building a strong foundation of faith in our lives, and encouraging us to continue to build upon that foundation by the gift of our lives.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Finally, during these days now leading up to Pentecost, please join me in praying that we will be fully prepared to receive the Holy Spirit, that the Church, and all our Domestic Churches may be renewed to continue the great MISSION of proclaiming the Good News with our life!