Sunday, May 1, 2016

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the week: “Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” — Norman Cousins

Most Catholics remember celebrating Ascension Thursday on Ascension Thursday.

But for many years, permission has been given to dioceses to celebrate Ascension Thursday on the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

Since Holy Week, Easter and all of the pascual celebrations, up to and including Pentecost Sunday (which closes the Easter Season — 50 days), are so significant; and since so many people seem to have forgotten or just chose not to attend Ascension Thursday, the church saw fit to move the Feast of the Ascension to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

Why? So it would not be forgotten.

Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit are the mysteries at the heart of the Easter days.

There are two Gospels available to us before we reach Ascension.

In both, Jesus speaks with enormous intimacy about the relationship between him and the Father.

In the first Gospel, Jesus speaks directly to the disciples and challenges them to be faithful to his words. The one who keeps Jesus’ words, the Father will love.

He further promises that: “My Father will come to him and (we will) make our dwelling with him.”

Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit who will teach everything needed and bring the gift of peace.

Fear is useless and there is no need for troubled hearts since the love that Jesus promises will clearly be enough.

In the second Gospel, we eavesdrop on the prayer of Jesus. He prays for unity: “that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.”

What incredible hopes and prayers on the part of Jesus — the indwelling love of God. Peace, no fear, unity, and love beyond compare!

As Jesus prepares to ascend to the Father — to leave his disciples — and readies the way for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), he does so in a context carefully prepared and proclaimed to his disciples.

One way of summing this up is beautifully expressed in the words found in John 14:18: “I will not leave you orphans, I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice”.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

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