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Redwood Journal

Writings by Harry Martin

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Ascension Sunday

FEAST of the ASCENSION

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{Mass Readings:  I:  Acts1:1-11; Psalm:  Ps.47;  II: Ephesians1:17-23; Gospel: Mk. 15-20}

The Feast of the Ascension was celebrated Thursday last, or as in many Dioceses , this past Sunday.  This powerful and glorious celebration marks the closing of the Easter season and the anticpation of the Feast of Pentecost.  It also marks an event of profound, poignant grace and power in Heaven and on earth.

Jesus ascends to Heaven, to take His place at His Father’s side, mounting His throne amidst  heavenly shouts of joy as the refrain from the Psalm proclaims.  Jesus, completing His earthly ministry returns home to His Father and the Holy Spirit.  The earthly ministry of Jesus is complete.  From the miraculous conception in the virgin’s womb, His birth, life, ministry, passion, death and resurrection Jesus has fulfilled the will of the Father in these thirty-some odd year moments of eternity.  And He is home.  This holy event marks the conclusion of what is a segment of eternity never before seen and never again to be repeated.  Jesus, the Son of God, lays aside dimensions of His Divinity to take in redeeming love upon Himself our humanity.  Truly God, truly man Jesus isseparated from the fullness of Heaven in His incarnation.  Jesus is separated for the only moments of eternity from His Father, His Spirit.  But with His ascension The Godhead, the fullness of God who is love is reunitedas One.

This majestic. holy power and grace of our Lord’s Ascension defires our limited humanity to understand, to realize.  We, like the early disciples, gaze into Heaven, seeking to understand what has occured.

It is the promised Presence of the Holy Spirit that brings us prayerful insight and promise through the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians (and to us).  Paul is praying, inspired by the Spirit of God.  [and we remember that Scripture is clear if we ask anything of God, according to His will, that it shall be done, I John 5:14-15].  In this prayer Paul asks of God what can enable us all to grow in realizing the graces provided in the Ascension of Jesus.

Paul prays that the “eyes of our heart be enlightened”  that we may know…

The hope of our calling.  Jesus came to share our earthly journey, to seek, save, to call us all to grow to be the men and women He created and calls us, each by name, to be.  He calls us to know the immense, eternal HOPE of knowing the passionate long in the Heart of God that we would follow, know and be His.  The Scriptures are clear, as our the history and Traditions of His Church..God has a plan for all creation, for every soul.  The question is…will we allow oursleves to follow His plan?  Will we allow God to bring us to the Hope of our calling?   It is as we say YES to God, growing in His hopes and plans for each of us we then grow in the next promise of this prayer of St. Paul, that we may know…

The riches of His glory, of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Most all of us would know, some to the penny, some to a general amount what our earthly assets, riches are worth.  Yet we are so often ignorant and unaware of the riches of HEaven we have, even this side of eternity, in Christ Jesus.  St. Paul was given profound insight into this heavenly wealth we share.  This letter to the Ephesians is, in many ways like an account statement for all who seek to be a disciple of Christ, seated in heavenly places with Chirst Jesus and with the angels and saints who  have gone before, (Epshesians 1& 2).  So often we place the graces of God in Heaven alone.  Yet the Holy Spirit, writing through Paul makes clear in thense and wording, we are called to be citizens, memebers of God’s Kingdom, here on earth.  It is as we grow in the holy realities of our place and resources as co-heirs wit Chriat that we also prayerfully experience…

The greatness of His power.  The promised Holy Spirit that immerses the Church in the power of God on the day of Pentecost brings to the believer, united together in God, the power of Heaven.  There is no power, arsenal, person or spirit  as powerful as the Presence and Power of God in His Body, the fullness of all in all.  This power of Holy Love as never been conquered or overcome in spite of millenia of trails, tests and spiritual warfare.  As St. Pope John Paul once said:  “Love is never defeated.”

It is this heavenly hope and calling, the realization of our riches in Christ and the power of God that Paul prays for our enlightened eyes to see.  This Scriptural prayer proclaims the promise, he will of God for each and all.  The fullfillment, the answers to this prayer are ours…to chose daily to seek and receive.

Ascended Jesus,enlighten the eyes of our hearts to see..You.

[Artwork image source unknown, found on the internet]

Ascension 2010

Here is the cyber-version of my homily for this Ascension Sunday:

“God mounts His thrones with shouts of joy…” So rings the refrain from our Psalm for this Ascension Sunday. After giving them their quest and His promise he ascended to the Heavens to return to His Father. God the Father reunited with God the Son, to thus send the fullness of God the Holy Spirit. The joy in Heaven is beyond words. If we think of s loved one we have not seen for some time..perhaps one who has died…yet we are now reunited with them..this joy we would know is but one grain of sand from an ocean beach, compared to the joy of the reunion between God the Father, and God the Son.This lesson of the Holy Trinity is also a vital lesson of this same quest and promise given to the Apostles and all believers to this day, a quest and promise to:

The Land of Promise ~ The Kingdom of Christ
Called out of limits and sins of our humanity, our understanding and boundaries of this world. Called from the culture of doubt, fear and judgment to be one people of forgiveness, mercy and healing hope. We are called to cross the Jordans of self, pride, fear and doubt to enter into and proclaim the Gospel of Christ and Risen hope, healing mercy and empowering holy love.
Called to all nations in the quest, the work of the Gospel of peace. Called to learn and share in the discovery of the joy of His Kingdom, in, with each other and our self as we focus, together on Christ and heed, not just our own human wisdom and insights but the will of the Father. With those same shouts of joy with which God mounts His throne with His Father so we too can know the same joy as Christ ascends the throne of our hearts, homes and lives.
Yet..we know it is impossible. We know our limitations. This world of sin, pride and sensual excess would mock this feast, our Lord and our own quest to follow Jesus. But it is in that reality..the same real world Jesus spoke to His early followers, He gives to us the Promise of Pentecost. Next Sunday we celebrate the promise and outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early Church. That same Spirit of Christ, given just last week in the holy sacrament of Confirmation would give to us the power to be..to become followers enflamed and empowered for our own quest into the truth and place of Promise , the Kingdom of Christ.

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