Sunday, May 16, 2010


..CHRISTMAS ...ASCENSION It seems to me that if we are to understand what a person is doing we have to understand why he or she is doing it. The goal of our actions gives them their meaning. So it is with Jesus. Christmas is connected to His teaching and kindness and miracles. These are connected to Calvary, and Calvary is connected to Easter. Easter is connected to the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, and the Ascension is connected to Pentecost. Since Christmas we have been celebrating the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus here among us at St. Mary on the Hill, in our present moment of history. This Thursday we celebrate His going back to the Father's glory, the meaning or goal of it all for Him, and in Him, for us. He had come to do the Father's will. He was to be on earth for a certain time, like us in all things but sin. Now that time was over and He was to go. For this to be, all the rest had to be. It was all the Father's will, all connected. He did not cease to be divine in coming among us. Yet in order to be really one of us He had to be limited, as we are, by space, time, and all the human limitations that are ours. He had to learn how, in His own time and place, in His own limited individual human way, to express His infinite, eternal, divine love for the Father and for all creation. He had to be satisfied, for the time being, to experience and develop and express this divine love in human limited words, thoughts, and actions. He had to pray. In His limited, short-lived human experience He had to praise and thank the Father for a very small part of all that He knew God had done. Maybe it was something like our own experience of thanking God for the stars we see, knowing all the while there are far more we do not see. We believe that all that Jesus was sent to do was done not only for the Father's glory, but for us. We need to deepen our understanding of this faith of ours. For example we often tend to view and experience the life of Jesus as an attempt on His part to set a pace, as it were, to put some footprints down for us to follow. Abraham, and Moses, and St. Paul, and Mary Magdalen, and Francis of Assisi, and our Patron Saints were sent for this. Jesus was sent for more. Jesus "came" from Heaven and lived among us as one of us so that we might "go" to Heaven living in Him! The gift of this reality is what we have called Sanctifying Grace, the gift that makes us holy, or like to God. This is what Jesus was trying to explain to Nicodemus when He spoke to him about being "born from above" and how necessary this was for anyone to "see", which means in this context to understand, the Kingdom of God. Down through the ages, back to the very beginning of our story, the Church has taken these words of Jesus at face value. As with St. Paul, we are a "new creation" in Jesus through faith and Baptism. Jesus did not just go before us in a previous moment of history, but he lives in us today. He did not merely live for us as a role model, but shares with us by faith His very life. "...and the life I live now is not my own alone; Christ is living in me." (Gal. 2:20; John 14:23; 15:1-5) Our faith is not like a house in which we live, or clothing we might put on, but more like medicine which heals us, and food that gives us life. God's divine love is to be shared with us as it was lived in Jesus. He has gone to prepare a place for those who believe, so that where He is they might be. (John 14: 2-3)

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