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Sunday, May 8, 2016

We are Called to be Witnesses

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea

The Ascension of The Lord, May 8, 2016

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today we celebrate the wonderful feast of 
Christ’s journey into heaven, also known as the Ascension. 

We are called to reflect on our journey as Christians. The feast reminds us that our lives here on earth are temporary. We are only passing through, and our destiny is to live eternally with God in heaven. 

We hear in today’s Gospel (Mark 16:15-20) that -- before Our Lord is about to be taken up into heaven -- He tells His disciples to go out into the world and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24: 46-49)

My brothers and sisters, the Ascension of our Lord calls us to keep our minds and hearts focused on the goal of our Christian faith. Our Lord Jesus ascended into heaven so that we too can ascend to heaven at the end of this age. 

Our Lord Jesus has come into our world so that we can live with Him in eternal life! 

In today’s first reading (Acts 1:1-11), His disciples watched Jesus taken into heaven, and while they were watching, two angels appear and say,

“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” 

In other words, the angels were saying to the disciples, "Get busy. Don’t just stand here and stare at the sky. Jesus is coming again. What you need is to focus on proclaiming the message of salvation!" 

It has been over two thousand years since Our Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, and now is the time for us to get busy more than ever! 

This present world is ending. This is why we see today so much violence and war, so much rampant immorality, and so much lack of desire for truth amongst world leaders and our societies. 

When Our Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven the world consisted of only 300 million people. Now our population is more than seven billion. The Gospel has been proclaimed to all corners of the earth. Yet, we continue down the path of self-destruction because we do not adhere to Jesus' call to repent and change our ways. 

In fact, we live in a critical time in all aspects! We are rapidly advancing in technology, but at the same time we are rapidly losing sight of
11-day-old human embryo grown in a lab at the University of Cambridge
what is true and eternal. Our world continues to try to solve its problems, but it is having little success because it does not call upon the help of God nor follow His path of life.

Fr John Paul Shea
My brothers and sisters, today’s celebration is about preparing our hearts and souls for eternal life. Our Lord Jesus “who has been taken up into heaven will return in the same way” as He ascended into heaven, and He is coming soon!

Therefore, as our world continues to focus on its politics, fights its wars, and indulge in its material pleasures; as our world continues to celebrate its so called “new innovations” such as gay marriage and transgender bathrooms,  let us keep our hearts focused on the Ascension. Let us not focus our attention on all that is passing away, the world's garbage. But let us strive to live in purity and holiness so that our hearts and souls will be lifted toward the greater meaning of life, that is eternal salvation.

1 comment:

  1. I live in Canada & sad to say the Positions of Liberal Government,Justin T trying to pass eneuthenisa, Transgender glag goes up along with gay pride in June for Gay Parade. Morals in Canada.Pray for Canada