Homily Notes for Ascension Sunday
THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD – 5TH JUNE 2011
(Fr Christy Fitzgerald – Cork and Ross)
For Jesus and his disciples their encounters were a series of meeting points. They happened on the seashore, in towns and villages, on the plains, on the road, in people’s houses, in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the mountaintop. They took many different forms and involved many others.
These meetings continued to occur after the Resurrection until the return of Jesus to his Father, his ultimate meeting point. That is what this solemnity is about: mission accomplished, his journey complete, Jesus returns to be with the Father.
In returning to his Father, Jesus gives a mission and a promise. A mission to continue his work just as he taught them: to preach the Good News of God’s love, hope and peace, to be living witnesses of his presence.
In our own lives too there are many meeting points; many occasions or gatherings. They are times to pause, to reflect, to celebrate, to become one in God’s presence; to be drawn together and united by him who brings us together and unites us and to recognize his presence in our gatherings. Among these gatherings, secular and sacred, are our national Eucharistic Congress in Knock at the end of this month, our diocesan gatherings the following day and our welcoming of overseas pilgrims in June of next year.
These are just preparations. Moments to be cherished and celebrated as we prepare in heart and mind to listen, to hear him speak, to be touched anew by his presence. Just as he spoke with the disciples he speaks to us today. ‘When the scriptures are proclaimed in Church, God speaks to God’s people. And it is Christ present in his word who proclaims the Gospel.’ (GIRM 29).
So then, like the disciples, let us not be looking upwards to heaven. He is here within and among us. He walks and talks with us. And we, too, like the disciples, are sent forth to be his living witnesses. Our mission is to bring him to all we meet in what we say and what we do. His promise is ‘And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’
PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL
Priest: In faith and trust we place all our hopes and needs before our God who always listens to us.
1. For our Holy Father Pope Benedict, our Bishop N and all ministers of God’s word; may their preaching and teaching inspire us to be living witnesses. Lord hear us
2. For our government and civic leaders; may all their decisions take account of the poor, the needy and the marginalised. Lord hear us
3. For all who have asked us to remember them and their particular needs in our prayers. Lord hear us
4. For the sick; may they know the presence and support of the Lord through all who care for and spend time with them. Lord hear us
5. For all for whom these are difficult times; may they find courage and inspiration in Jesus who is with them until the end of time. Lord hear us
6. For our forthcoming National Eucharistic Congress in Knock; may it help to renew our appreciation and understanding of the Eucharist. Lord hear us
7. For our family, relatives and friends who have completed their earthly pilgrimage; may they see the Lord face to face. Lord hear us.
Priest: God of majesty, yours is the power that raised Christ from death, yours the glory that exalted him to your right hand. By the mystery of the Ascension, sustain our hope as we bear witness to our baptism. By the perpetual outpouring of your Spirit, confirm your Church in its mission of salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.