Saturday, May 11, 2013

To Be Continued (Ascension, May 9, 2013)

This is my homily, Ascension Thursday May 9, 2013.  I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass 5:00 pm/7:00 pm celebrated during Fall and Spring semester  at  FDU University Interfaith Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck, NJ.

Ascension Thursday May 9, 2013   //  Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:17-23;  Luke 24:46-53

[__01__]     To be continued.  To be continued, this is good news.

Luke the evangelist, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, continues the Good News of our salvation…. The Good News which had concluded with the Ascension of our Savior.

This Good News – the mission of the Apostles – continues in Part 2, “Acts of the Apostles.”

It is Good News to be continued.

[__02__]      Here at Bergen Catholic, we learn – through both our faith and our academics – that you and I are being continued.

We learn about our human potential –  in terms of academics, friendships, agility / competition, music, …

You and I are works in progress.

To be continued is Good News.

[__03__]     At times, we also find continuity – and consistency – to be a comfort and a motivation.

For example, consider what happens when we take an examination, a midterm …and we have to wait a while for the grade or the result. 

Instead of our life being a very smooth line … we become the discontinuous function… wondering what the grade is… and unwilling to learn MORE until we know what just happened on the midterm …and whether or not there will be extra points, a curve, etc.

Isn’t our life also made smoother and more continous through positive results?  If we were to win on the playing field, some of us would find it much easier to go to practice than if we had lost.

I want coach to tell me what I did well. We associate “continuity” with victory.

Also, the first disciples – witnessing the Passion of Good Friday would had some trouble connecting the dots to Easter  Sunday.  Thomas the Apostle, famously, wants physical proof.

The Resurrection does not seem possible. The disciples, at first, only see the discontinuity of Good Friday… rather than the  continuity of Easter  Sunday .

 [__04__]     Some of has have, of course, experienced, real and tragic physical disruption, defeat and discontinuity in our lives.

We experience this, for example, through the death of a loved one, the illness or crisis of a loved one -  child, mother, father, brother, sister, friend or family.

We share, then, in the doubts and disconnections of the early disciples.

We also feel disconnected – deprived – in our grief and mourning in such an experience of loss or death.

Similarly, physical separation may cause this.  We do not want to be away from loved ones.

[__05__]    The disciples – at the time of the Ascension – are also experiencing this disruption and some disconnection.

Jesus wants to heal this division, this disconnect, sending the Holy  Spirit. But, there will be some discontinuity.

There will be some disagreements among the disciples themselves about their mission.

[__06__]    To be continued – Good News, but challenging news

[__07__]    In the Ascension, our  Savior is teaching us and challenging us to recall that while death takes us from the earth – and from our families – death does not remove us from God’s presence.

Also, through the Ascension, Jesus reminds us that he is present to us in our difficulties.

This could be death or illness.

Also, this difficulty could be sinfulness, injustice, brokenness.   If we have sinned – or someone has sinned against us – we remain loved by God.

[__08__]      We were brought into this world by God’s love. And, we are sustained by God’s love.

[__09__]     When we confess our sins, equally, we are not simply learning what evil or injustice to avoid in the future.

Yes, we do learn this.

But, we also learn how to be free – how to follow God’s will – and to desire God’s will – joyfully … even as we gradually grow closer to him. We are works in progress, growing and changing through God’s mercy.

 [__10__]     This is the Good News of the Resurrection, for you and me, to be continued.


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