B Cycle – Feast of the Ascension 15

We so casually recite the Creed each and every time we celebrate our liturgy.  We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible.  We believe in Jesus Christ his only Son.  Later we say we believe he ascended into heaven.  These are just some of the core beliefs we are proud to profess.   I do not doubt anyone’s belief and at the same time I have heard far too many people express hopelessness, fear and  concern over God’s desire to ease what ever it is they are going through.  Those many expressions are a telling sign that belief needs from time to time to be confirmed. How do we really know for what we believe is on things unseen.  Is our belief only based on faith and nothing else?  How do I as a minister of the church help people see what I have seen and experienced of God’s working in the lives of people.  Working powerfully in people he chose to send his Son to redeem and sanctify. Let me tell you a few stories that may help us put our faith into a more active living of it.  A few weeks ago I was talking with a woman who was a skiing instructor in her town in Minnesota.  She has a specialized class where she taught individuals with disabilities.    In the course of the conversation others listening on spoke of how frightened they were when they got to the top of those hills. So much so that they froze and could not move.  This lady said she could in one lesson help anyone overcome  their fright.  When asked how, her response was it is simple.  She with her back to the downhill has the individual look directly into her eyes. As they do they begin to go down the slope.  If they never look anywhere other than her eyes they are surprised when they reach the bottom of the ski slope and they  are ready to do it again. Jesus has always invited us to follow him. Let him lead us where we will discover the truth of why he came.  It was more than just to redeem us it was to restore us. Restore us to the status of sons and daughters, heirs to the kingdom that Jesus came to establish on the earth.  The ascension marks the conclusion of his ministry on this earth and he passed on to us the mission to go an make disciples.  Instead of making disciples we spend most of our time too frightened to step out of the boat and walk on water.  Jesus took his place at the right hand of the Father and before he died he told us we would do the things he did and  greater things because he is going. What greater things can we be doing.  Let me tell you  another story. A month go a close friend of mine had a grandchild born prematurely.  Lily came into their lives suddenly and as with many premature births had a host of physical issues.  She was critical and the church prayed for her.  Lilly was released yesterday and her short time in the hospital is nothing less than a miracle. During the course of her overcoming one problem after another her grandmother sent me an email. That email expressed gratitude for the things God had done up to that moment.  It was the work of God and it seemed to  be more than ever expected.  Yet I encouraged her to not stop praying until Lilly was completely restored.  Why would we stop after enjoying the appetizer when the fullness of the feast is yet to come. But I believe this is where we find ourselves in our faith in the power of God.  Why I ask myself do we settle for so little when God wants to give us the kingdom.  I have come to give you life and life in abundance we have been told by Jesus .  Just imagine if we would just expect the scraps that fall from the banquet table as did the Canaanite woman (Mat. 15:27).  Just imagine what we could do if we had faith the size of a mustard seed. We believe in the Holy Spirit the giver of life  My brothers and sisters we have been given a mission and have been given the power to give witness  to our Lord Jesus Christ.   This power will not be just some thing internal to us through the Holy Spirit but it will be external and confirmed by the gifts, which will come from that same Holy Spirit. Our mission is to bear witness to the Good News of Jesus to everyone we meet.  To talk about how he has made a difference in our lives, to talk about the healings we have prayed for and have received, to be bold in our prayers and ask for miracles and to give witness to God’s forgiveness freely offered to us. Brothers and Sisters, the ascension is about us just as much as it is about Jesus.  He is returning to the father; and his job on earth was completed.  Now it is our turn to be transformed by the Holy Spirit just as every disciple was transformed.  It is our task now to continue the mission of building the kingdom of God. The task to give witness is not a job reserved for the clergy, the religious, or the church; it is the job of every believer.  It is our job, you and I going out and simply giving witness to our own encounter with the Lord.  If you have never had such an encounter then ask someone who has been there to help us overcome our resistance to enter into the heart of Jesus. Let us ask the Holy Spirit show us how we are to live as disciples and to lead us so we may always bring glory to God.  Let us ask for that promise of God to fill us and lead us to holiness, to give us what Paul said in the second reading wisdom and insight into the great plan for our lives. Let us boldly pray – Come Holy Spirit Come; fill us with the fire of your love so we as a people can fulfill our destiny as your followers. .

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