Fr. Kevin’s Column 5/16/2021

Dear friends of God,

We hear the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles this weekend. The book of Acts was written to someone named Theophilus. I find that name intriguing. In Greek it means “lover of God.” That book was written for each of us in our own desire to “…love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

 

This week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Most of us will remember Ascension Thursday, though now we celebrate it on the Sunday before Pentecost. Bishop Ken Untener spoke of the Ascension “…as more than a footnote.” Unfortunately, many of us don’t even think of it as a footnote. We likely don’t think of this feast and what it represents at all. Collectively, as Catholic Christians, we need to regain our heritage and the depth of meaning that we are called to live as students of Jesus.

 

Sister Mary M. McGlone wrote the following last year on the Feast of the Ascension.

Rarely is something as simple as it seems. After Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds, all the disciples had become bona fide Christians, right? Not quite.

 

With the feast of the Ascension (formally celebrated on a Thursday), we’ve completed 40 days of Easter — the same amount of time we spent in Lent. Unfortunately, in the Western church we don’t give this season of joy the same kind of attention we give Lent. It’s a little like our wedding traditions: after putting immense emphasis on preparing clothes and rings, flowers, attendants and the reception, the years the couple spends verifying the truth of their vows get treated like a ho-hum sequel. So, too, the Easter season: Even if we spent hours celebrating the Vigil, Easter Monday comes and most of us carry on as if we were living in ordinary time in a pre-Resurrection world.

 

That is exactly what we have done. We have carried on with our lives not realizing that everything is different because of Christ’s death and resurrection. All of creation has been renewed and we are commanded by Jesus to go “…into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” We need to challenge each other and ourselves to see with “Easter eyes.” The same eyes with which our forebears in the faith saw Jesus return to the Father with the promise to return. The vision of Easter sees in such a way that we are all called to participate in the building up of our new world that leads to the Kingdom of God when the fullness of God’s life will be shared with each of us and all of creation reflects to beauty of God’s Spirit. Maybe we can start in simple ways, or not so simple, acting like Jesus did after his Resurrection with words of peace and acts of compassion.

On Friday, May 14 we celebrated the Apostle St. Matthias. He wasn’t one of the original Twelve but was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot after his betrayal and death. I have always had a fondness for St. Matthias. He was the saint that my childhood parish was dedicated to in Sterling Heights. It was the community where my call to the priesthood was nurtured in the quiet of my heart and the love of that parish community. It was the place that I saw ordinary people like us do extraordinary things for God and for our neighbor. That is what we all ought to strive for in our ordinariness realizing that all things are possible for God. St. Matthias, pray for us!

 

In these waning days of the Easter season may we embrace that new life that we are called to live and the renewal of all of creation with joy, laughter and openness to the gift of God’s Spirit in the present moment.

Easter peace!
Much love,
 
Fr. Kevin