Corpus Christi – 16

Corpus Christi – 16

Gen.14:18-20, 1Cor.11:23-26, Lk.9:11-17

Augustinian nun Juliana of Liège had a vision in which a glistening full moon appeared to her. The moon was perfect but for some hollow dark spots which she was told represented the absence of a feast of the Eucharist. This led to the celebration of the feast of the Body of Christ, Corpus Christi, which was introduced into the church calendar in 1264.

Why do we need a feast of the Eucharist? A feast like this affords us the opportunity to give God collective thanks for Christ’s abiding presence with us which is made visible in the Eucharist. It is also an opportunity for us to seek a better understanding of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

What is our attitude to the sacrament? We need to order our attitude to it accordingly, since the Eucharist is a sacrament of life which, if misused, could bring about the opposite effect. As St Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“All who eat and drink in an unworthy manner, without discerning the Lord’s body eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason, many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (1Cor.11:29-30).

In order to arrive at a better understanding of the Eucharist we need to ask why Jesus gave us this sacrament in the first place. A closer reading of today’s gospel or, better still, the whole of the Eucharistic discourse in John 6, provides useful answers.

From the reading we find that there are two main reasons Jesus gave us this sacrament. (1) Jesus promised to be with us until the end of time (Matt.28:20). In the Eucharist he provides a visible sign and an effective means of him being present to us and us being present to him. As Jesus himself said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”

(2) Jesus said that he came that we may have life and have it to the full (Jn.10:10). In the Eucharist he provides a visible means of communicating this life to us so that we can be fully alive both in this world and in the next.

As Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day” (Jn.6:53-54).

The Jews that Jesus was addressing in John 6 had gathered to ask him for more bread. Jesus promised to give them the sacramental bread and blood instead. But in their worldly frame of mind they could not understand or appreciate the sacrament.

We all have that longing for more and more. There seems to be this void in us that longs to be filled, and we will fill it with bargains, offers, pleasures, things, money, status. It is like a bottomless pit, a black hole which sucks in everything and yet leaves us longing for more.

Somehow, contentment and satisfaction seem to be missing in our vocabulary. At least they seem to be the words that we seldom use. There is a longing in our hearts, but do we know what we are really longing for?

In the gospel, we heard that a crowd of about 5000 followed Jesus. Now, that is not a small number of people. What were they looking for in Jesus? What do they want from Him? Yes, they were looking for something, they want something. But we also know what Jesus did for them.

Jesus taught them about the kingdom of God – about truth and justice, about mercy and compassion and forgiveness. And then He healed them of their troubles, their afflictions and their obsessions. And finally He fed them with simple food of fish and bread.

They ate as much as they wanted, and they knew what contentment and satisfaction was, because they ate as much as they wanted. We have come to the Mass to listen to the voice of God in the scripture readings.

The readings teach us about the kingdom of God and how we ought to live our lives. And today we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi – Jesus feeds us with His Body. This is the one big event of the Church on every Sunday; in fact, it is happening every day at the daily Mass.

To be fed with the Body of Christ is our hearts’ deepest desire that will bring about true contentment. But we have to realize the contentment that the Body of Christ will give us.

There is a story of a man who was always grumbling about his wife and complaining about his life. So the Lord sent an angel to him to grant him 3 wishes. The angel asked him to make his first wish. Immediately the man wished that his wife would die so that he could marry a younger and better wife.

So his wish was granted, and his wife died. Then during the wake, his relatives and friends talked about how good a woman his wife was, caring for the home and his needs, docile and humble, always giving in to him and making sacrifices for him.

Then the man felt remorseful for taking his wife for granted and always grumbling and complaining about her. So for his second wish, he asked that his wife would come back to life, and so she did.

Then there was only one wish left, and he thought hard about it. Finally, he asked the angel what should he wish for. And the angel replied: Finally, you have come to your senses. Just ask to be contended and satisfied, and then you will be happy.

So we have heard the scripture readings which teach us about the kingdom of God. As we come forward later for communion, we will be given the Body of Christ. Let us ask that the Body of Christ will fill our hearts with contentment.

May the Body of Christ heal us of our afflictions of body and mind, and may the Body of Christ also heal us of our obsessions so that our hearts will be filled with joy and happiness.

And may we in turn be the Body of Christ for others so that they too will be filled and be contended. Let this be the great event today. And may it be the great event every day. Amen.


The Holy Trinity – 16

The Holy Trinity – 16

Prv.8:22-31; Rom.5: 1-5; Jn.16:12-15

One day, while Adam was walking with God in the Garden of Eden he said, “Excuse me God, can I ask you a few questions?” God replied, “Go on Adam, but be quick. I have a world to create.” So Adam says, “When you created Eve, why did you make her body so curved and tender unlike mine?” “I did that, Adam, so that you could love her.”

“Oh, well then, why did you give her long, shiny, beautiful hair?” “I did that Adam so that you could love her.” “Oh, well then, why did you make her so stupid? Is that too because I should love her?” “Well, Adam, no. I did that so that she could love you.”

We like to belong. We like to belong to a family, to a parish, to a community. No one is an island and we need the love, support and friendship of others in our family and community. Not only do we like to belong, we need to belong. It is not good to be alone. It is for our good to belong.

Before the time of Jesus people called God “Yahweh” because Yahweh is the name given to God very often in the Old Testament. It goes back to when Moses saw the bush burning and asked God his name. “I am who I am” was the name God gave himself (Ex 3:14) which became “Yahweh.”

Then Jesus came and we knew that there were two persons in God. Before Jesus ascended he promised the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost and so then we knew there were three persons in God. God is a Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the happiest of families.

They are totally united in love for each other. The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father. We call this love of the Father for the Son, and the love of the Son for the Father, the Holy Spirit. Today we celebrate the “Feast of God.” The Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of our Catholic faith.

Our readings today talk to us about this first amazing mystery. That our God is a communion of three divine persons in love — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God created us and loves us as our Father.

God is also the Son who came into our world to share his life with us. That’s what Jesus is talking about in our Gospel passage for today. And God is the Holy Spirit who gives us new life as children of God and causes the Trinity to dwell in our hearts.

That’s what St. Paul is telling us in our second reading today. My brothers and sisters, these beautiful readings today show us the beautiful truth of our faith, the Holy Trinity. One way to think about it is that we all make the Sign of the Cross every time we pray.

Christians have been doing that since the time of the apostles. So what are we really doing when we make that sign? We’re expressing our faith in the Trinity and our faith that the Trinity was revealed by Jesus on his Cross.

We touch our head and we say, “In the name of the Father.” Because he is the first person of the Trinity and our Creator. Then we touch our hearts and we say, “and of the Son.” This reminds us that God the Son proceeds from the Father and came down from heaven to the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then we touch our shoulders, moving from left to right as we say, “and of the Holy Spirit.”

We do this because God the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son; and in his love, the Spirit fills us, body and soul, with the life of God. Now, another way to think about the Trinity is the way that St. John described it in one of his letters.

He said very simply, “God is Love.” And the theologians and saints have helped us to see, that in his innermost heart — God is a communion of three divine Persons in love. Remember, the human person is created in the image of God.

That means that you and me — every one of us — are created in the image of the Most Holy Trinity. In the image of the God who is Love. So the Trinity tells us the meaning of our lives. It tells us that we are made to share in the life of the Blessed Trinity.

We are made to live a divine life in this world. As children of God. As temples of the Holy Spirit. This is the basic reality of our Christian lives. Jesus said that if we love him and keep his commandments, that God will come — the Trinity — to make his home within us.

St. Paul used to say, we are the temples of the living God. That’s the truth. God is dwelling in each us by his grace! But are we aware of it? Are we living this truth? So this great feast today challenges us to examine ourselves.

In the second reading, Paul tells us that: “The love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Christ is the fullness of God’s love. From this, we have some insight about what this union of the three divine persons looks like. Each of them do their work, yet they remain one and undivided.

Today’s gospel makes this unity clearer. Each and every one of them bears witness to the same word and truth. Each affirms and confirms the work of the other. They do not contradict one another. They are not separated by time, or space, because their project is the same.

Also, they share the same glory. This feast calls us to really believe this and to really live with a greater awareness of this beautiful reality — of the Blessed Trinity’s presence with us. This isn’t just a happy thought. It’s another way of expressing the beautiful spiritual reality of our lives.

The mystery of the Trinity means that we have access to God all the time. No matter where we are, or what we’re doing God is with us. Even when we are with others. We can talk to God all day long. In an intimate conversation. No matter how softly we speak, he still hears us.

We can turn to him for help. For inspiration. All the time. It’s so beautiful that we can talk to God as our loving Father. That we can walk with Jesus as our brother. And that we can live by the light and the gifts of their Spirit of love.

So in this Holy Mass and all throughout this whole week, let’s pray for the grace to deepen our awareness of the Blessed Trinity’s loving presence within our souls. And let’s pray for the help of our Blessed Mother.

Mary was the first person in whom the Trinity came to dwell when the Father asked her to become the Mother of his Son by the power of their Holy Spirit. So let’s ask Mary to help us to grow in our devotion to the Blessed Trinity.

Let us respect ourselves and others because everyone is the temple of the Holy Spirit where all the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity abide.

Let us have the firm conviction that the Trinitarian God abides in us, that He is the Source of our hope, courage and strength and that He is our final destination.

Let us practice the Trinitarian relationship of love and unity in the family relationships of father, mother and children because by Baptism we become children of God and members of God’s Trinitarian family.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Spirit. Amen.

Pentecost Sunday Year C – 16

Pentecost Sunday Year C – 16

Acts 2:1-11/ 1 Cor 12:3-7, 12-13 / John 14:15, 23-26

In today’s feast of Pentecost, the focus is none other than the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit!  Most of us recognize a person who has spirit!  Most of us recognize a holy person, even if we have met such a person only once in our lives.

Probably many of us would say that we have never had a direct experience of the Holy Spirit in our lives, even if we have been confirmed. Let us look at the readings again to listen to what is being said.

The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, gives an account of the first experience of Christian Pentecost. We can reflect on this experience:  a noise like a strong, driving wind; tongues of fire, separated and over each one present; speaking in different languages; hearing in different languages.

We are not given an answer to how many Christians were gathered together or to what their own feelings were about this descent of the Spirit. The focus seems more on the work of God than on the feelings of the people present—although it is clear that there was wonderment.

The second reading is from the First Letter to the Corinthians. This passage wants to remind us that there are many gifts of the Holy Spirit and that such gifts are given for some benefit—not to draw attention to the person with the gifts.

The Gospel of John shows Jesus giving the Spirit to His disciples. This Spirit is to forgive sins—but also to retain sins. This is a complex gifts and immediately makes us aware that the Spirit is not a gentle Spirit but a strong Spirit that draws us to God or tells us that we are not ready to move to God yet!

Each of us needs to reflect on his or her experience of the Spirit. Lots of us never think much about the Spirit in our lives. From the readings today, however, we can see clearly that the Spirit is not something just for ourselves.

No, the Spirit is meant to draw me to serve others, to help others, to pray for others, to forgive others. There are so many ways to do this! That is why there are so many gifts of the Spirit.

This is the day of Pentecost and each of us should ask the Holy Spirit to come into us, into our hearts and minds, to transform us more completely into the image of Jesus Christ. The role of the Spirit is always about Jesus. The Spirit gives us the same message as Jesus. The Spirit deepens our knowledge of Jesus.

Whenever we feel any impulse to know Jesus more or to spend time with Jesus, we can recognize that the Spirit is active in us. When we are drawn to love for the sake of the Gospel, then the Spirit is active in us. When we want to do the right thing in whatever we are doing, that also is the Spirit in us.

We always remember the day of confirmation when we speak about the holy spirit. We remember it because The bishop will be there, relatives and friends will be there, the children/teenagers are all dressed up, many photographs will be taken.

But after that, something strange happens. The children/teenagers seem to go into secret service or they go undercover. Because they don’t seem to be around anymore. It’s like the story about the two Christian pastors and a Catholic priest having a discussion about the problem of birds in their churches.

The first pastor said that he covered up all the holes in the roof of the church but the birds still managed to come in. The second pastor said that he called the pest control company but the problem persisted.

Then they asked the Catholic priest how he handled the problem, and he said, “Oh, I confirmed them, and they never come back.” So, the Sacrament of Confirmation seemed to have a strange effect on Catholic children/teenagers; they seem to disappear after that.

Maybe the name of the Sacrament can be changed to something like “Sacrament of Confirmation and Last Rites”. Yes, we lament that our children/teenagers seem to disappear after Confirmation. For those of us who are concerned enough, we ask what is being done and who should be doing that.

Well, those are not new questions, and yet we also know that we need help in order to help these teenagers after Confirmation. And God knows we need help, not just for the children/teenagers, but in all matters actually. And that help is already given.

In today’s gospel, Jesus said that He will ask the Father to send another Advocate to be with us forever. The word “Advocate” had several meanings. An advocate comes to the defense of another person. An advocate also pleads for and on behalf of another person (as in intercession).

And in the court of law, an advocate defends the cause of another person. So more than just a helper, an advocate pleads the cause of another person. So more than just a helper, an advocate defends us and fights for us and intercedes for us.

The Advocate that Jesus is talking about is none other than the Holy Spirit who will teach us everything and remind us of all that Jesus taught us. But more often than not, the Holy Spirit does not manifest Himself in dramatic and spectacular ways, like we heard in the 1st reading.

Instead, the Holy Spirit seems to be in secret service and He operates undercover. But as the 2nd reading puts it, when we are interested in spiritual things, then the Holy Spirit will make His home in us and reveal to us how He works and how He helps us.

And as the Advocate, the Holy Spirit helps us by inspiring and prompting others to come to our help. In other words, the Holy Spirit engages 3rd party intercessors and 3rd party intervention to manifest His help.

What seems impossible for us will became possible with the help of God. That is what the Holy Spirit, our Advocate can do. So whether it is about disappearing children/teenagers or old-timers, saints or sinners, the Holy Spirit is here to help us.

The Holy Spirit wants to help us become aware of the spiritual things and to make our hearts the home of God. When God makes His home in us, then we will become the instruments of the Holy Spirit, so that others will experience the power of God’s help.

We need to permit the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives: 1) by constantly remembering His holy presence and behaving well;

2) by praying for His daily anointing so that we may fight against our temptations and control our evil tendencies, evil habits and addictions;

3) by asking His daily assistance to pray, listening to God through meditative Bible reading and talking to Him; and

4) by asking the help of the Holy Spirit to do good for others and to be reconciled with God and others every day.   And then let us say:

Come, Holy Spirit, put your fire in our hearts. Draw us to love the Lord and to love all others.  Amen.


Pentecost Sunday the Vigil Mass – 16

Pentecost Sunday the Vigil Mass – 16

Genesis 11:1-9, Romans 8:22-27, John 7:37-39

Tonight is the vigil of Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit. Tonight we are waiting expectantly to receive the Holy Spirit. How should we feel tonight? We ought to feel like children on Christmas Eve. Tomorrow we are going to receive the gift of God, the Holy Spirit.

As a child who hopes to receive a new toy on Christmas might spend the night before planning how they will play with it the next day, so we should be planning now what we will do with the Holy Spirit. Tonight our minds should be filled with contemplating the gift we hope to receive.

A young boy went to market on his bicycle in order to buy something. But there was simply no place to park in his bicycle. So he went to a nearby church and made a request to the parish priest. The priest granted it without any hesitation.

“Is it safe here, Father?” the boy asked the priest and concerned that someone might steal his bicycle. “Of course,” said the priest. “The Holy Spirit will keep watch over your bike. But first, let’s go inside the church and pray.”

They kneel down and making the sign of the cross, the boy said: “In the name of the Father and of the Son. Amen.” The priest interrupted him. “You forgot the last part, ‘and of the Holy Spirit’ son?” The boy replied: “We should not disturb the Holy Spirit. He is watching over my bike!”

To begin with, the Holy Spirit is so misunderstood. The greatest misunderstanding about the Holy Spirit is that he is a tool of God or a servant of God.

We hear that Jesus is going to send the Holy Spirit, so we think that the Holy Spirit is like an angel, something God created to serve us Christians, but this is not true! The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Most Holy Trinity.

He is equal to the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, he is adored and glorified. The Holy Spirit is God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit together are the one God. The Holy Spirit is in no way inferior to the Father or the Son.

The Holy Spirit is the gift of God, but the Holy Spirit is God. God is giving us himself. We call the Holy Spirit the gift of God, because he is the greatest gift of God to us. Truly, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the dirt we stand on are all gifts from God.

Yet, above all of these, God gives us himself. Really, all the rest is the wrapping. It is not unheard of that a child wants to play with the wrapping paper and boxes, rather than the gift, but we need to be mature.

We can admire the beautiful paper, we can even have fun opening the package, but our focus needs to be on the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, God himself.

On Pentecost, the disciples were assisted in receiving the Holy Spirit by outward signs. The Holy Spirit worked great miracles to reveal his presence. Another general misunderstanding about the Holy Spirit is a confusion of the Holy Spirit with these signs.

Jesus is not the healings that he accomplished. He is not the feeding of the 5000. He is not the walking on water or the calming the storm. He did all these things, but he is not these things. The same is true of the Holy Spirit.

He is not the tongues of fire that appeared on the heads of the disciples. He is not the great wind that blew through the room. He is not the gift of speaking in tongues. Jesus was not less present when he was walking down the street than when he was healing a blind man.

So too, the Holy Spirit is not only present where we can see him working a miracle. He is not even more present when we see him working a miracle. He does not move from here to there, working magic tricks wherever he goes.

It is not good to say, “The Holy Spirit is here right now”, as if he is not always everywhere. The disciples were prepared to receive the Holy Spirit by the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

St. John writes in the Gospel today, “There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” The Spirit absolutely existed. He had already made an appearance in John’s Gospel at the baptism of Jesus.

St. John means that there was no reception of the Spirit yet, that the Spirit had not yet changed the lives of the disciples. Tomorrow is not really a celebration of the sending of the Holy Spirit but of the reception of the Holy Spirit. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere, at all times.

The Holy Spirit did not move from one place to another when he was sent; he was always present in the world. We see his actions all throughout the Old Testament. He has spoken through the prophets.

If Adam and Eve had been ready to receive the Holy Spirit, they would have received him. The Holy Spirit was not holding back, rather, he was not welcomed. So when we sing, “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth”, we are asking for what we already have.

The Spirit has been here all along. What we need is not a new sending of the Holy Spirit. What we need is a new reception of the Holy Spirit. We say, “Lord, send out your Spirit” but we mean “Lord, help me to receive your Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is right here, right now.

He is not the one holding back, we are. What we need is not a new sending of the Holy Spirit. We do not need to discover where his next appearance is going to be. What we need is a new reception of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, we received the Holy Spirit at Baptism.

Without a doubt, we received the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. Nevertheless, let us receive the Holy Spirit all over again. Let us receive him tomorrow and every day. We must not let anything prevent us from receiving the Holy Spirit.

If there are any locks on the door of our hearts, let us unlock them. If our hearts are a mess, filthy with sin, if we are embarrassed to invite the Holy Spirit in, we should confess our sins and be forgiven. If our hearts are not big enough to accept the Holy Spirit, let us expand them with love.

And who is the love that will expand our hearts? It is the Holy Spirit. And who will forgive us our sins? The Holy Spirit. And who is the key to our hearts? The Holy Spirit. We cannot even prepare to receive the Holy Spirit without the Holy Spirit.

How unusual this gift is! Usually a gift is made for a person, but, in this case, a person was made for a gift. God made each one of us because he wanted someone to give himself to. How unequal this exchange! God gives us himself and all he asks in exchange is that we give him ourselves.

It is clear who is getting the better deal here. How foolish would we have to be to refuse to accept this gift! The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace.

Strengthened by the Spirit and his many gifts, may we be able uncompromisingly to battle against sin and corruption, devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace. Amen.

Ascension of the Lord Year C – 16

Ascension of the Lord Year C – 16

Acts 1:1-11 / Eph.1:17-23 / Luke 24:46-53

Being the Mother’s day, I wish all the Mothers a Very Happy Mother’s Day and I have an inspiring story. A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.” The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers. As they were leaving, he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.” She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house. Yes, this is a day to admit gratefully the fact that none of us is able to return, in the same measure, all the love that our mothers have given us.

Their influence on their children is so great that it affects the children throughout their lives. Our mothers not only gave us birth but nursed us, nurtured us, trained us in our religious beliefs and practices, taught us good manners and ideal behavior, disciplined us as best as they could and made us good citizens of our country, our Church and our society.

And today is the feast of the Ascension. Today’s readings describe the Ascension of the Lord Jesus into his Heavenly glory.

The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, describes the scene of Jesus’ Ascension, his promise of the Holy Spirit, his instruction to the apostles to wait at Jerusalem for the power from above and his missionary command to his apostles to bear witness to him.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps.47), suggests that by his Ascension, the risen Lord “mounts his throne” in glory.  In the second reading, Paul teaches us that God revealed His might in the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and in his exaltation over all angelic forces.

He remains accessible to us now in the life-giving Holy Spirit, assuring us that one day we, too, will be ascending to Heavenly glory, provided that, with His grace, we live out our Faith in Him through the mission of loving service He entrusts to us.

Today’s Gospel tells us that, with his return to the Father, Jesus completes his mission on earth. But just before his Ascension he entrusted to his disciples the mission of preaching the Good News and evangelizing the whole world by bearing witness to him through their lives.

It is in his Ascension that we see Jesus entering fully into the life and glory of God. Jesus Christ was lifted up to heaven before the eyes of his disciples. This makes us wonder why did Jesus Christ leave his disciples for Heaven? What does Ascension of the Lord mean to us?

The catechism of the Catholic Church defines that Heaven is where God and saints live. Heaven is an everlasting life. Heaven is an eternal life. Heaven is the final and biggest reward for those who are faithful to God. Heaven is where people will be satisfied completely.

The presence of God fulfills all desires in people. Why the Risen Lord did not stay with his disciples on earth for the Evangelization? It will be much better if he stayed with them and directed them for this mission.

It is really bad when he left them alone for many struggles and persecution when they tried to achieve the mission of Evangelization that he ordered them to do.

No, when the Gospel says, “Jesus withdrew himself from his disciples and was carried up into heaven”, the Gospel doesn’t mean that Jesus left his disciples for heaven, for a perfect life and Jesus abandoned them for many struggles and persecution on earth.

The ascension of the Lord is considered as a final step of salvation. Salvation begins with Jesus’ birth in a form of man like we are. Salvation was performed by preaching the Good News, by healing the sick, by restoring to life for the dead.

Salvation was shown by dying on the cross, by rising from the dead and finally by ascending into heaven. These stages make up salvation for human. This is exactly the way we live. This is also the goal we try to reach. Jesus Christ is considered as the first born of human creation.

He shows himself as a perfect model for all of us. All of us were born on earth. All of us have listened to the Good News preached by Jesus Christ. All of us have received the healing and reconciliation.

All of us have received the Body of Christ as the food of life on the journey to heaven. All of us will die one day and finally all of us who believe in Jesus as the resurrection and the life will rise again from the dead for Heaven, for everlasting life with God and all Saints.

So the ascension of the Lord is considered as a foreseen way that we will be in the future. The ascension of the Lord encourages us to follow Jesus Christ as a model of human life. What should we do to have heaven at the end of life?

Actually heaven is a reward. A reward is given to someone who has been won after fighting. Yes, we will have heaven as a reward given by God for our fidelity with faith. Jesus Christ ascended into heaven after he has died and rose again from the dead.

I mean that Jesus also received a reward of Heaven after he has been faithful with his mission. As Christians, as the followers of Jesus Christ, we have to follow Jesus, our forerunner so that we would have heaven at the end of life.

Actually we were born not for challenges. We don’t intend to live for persecution. But challenge and persecution are always around human life, especially Christian life. We live like everyone does but keep in mind that we are on the journey of life. Our destination is heaven.

When we celebrate the ascension of the Lord, I won’t say that life on earth has no value and nothing. I won’t tell you that just fix your mind and your eyes to heaven. No, Jesus lived on earth, loved people on earth and worked very hard to help people on earth so that they know that they have eternal life expecting them in heaven after the life on earth.

My message is, do not glue yourselves permanently on earth. Everything won’t last forever on the earth. We should live, should work and should serve people on the earth with love and with our enthusiasm but remember always that we are going to everlasting life in heaven.

The Ascension is a mission to preach the Gospel: After attending a convention led by Billy Graham a woman wrote to him. “Dear Sir, I feel that God is calling me to preach the Gospel. But the trouble is that I have twelve children. What shall I do?”

The televangelist replied: “Dear Mam, I am delighted to hear that God has called you to preach the Gospel. I am even more delighted to hear that He has already provided you with a congregation in your own home.”

Yes, we have a teaching mission: Jesus taught us lessons of Faith, Hope, Love, forgiveness, mercy and salvation by his life and preaching and gave us the same mission to teach others.

Hence, let us learn about Jesus and his teachings through our daily study of the Bible and the teachings of the Church, experience him in personal prayer, our reception of the Sacraments and our works of charity, and convey to others Jesus whom we experience with the help of his Holy Spirit. Amen.