Thanks to all who make this radio broadcast possible, today Sunday May 16, Ascension Sunday and ascent to heaven of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In all the Catholic churches of the world, as the first reading of Mass, we hear chapter 1, verses 1 to 11 of the Book of Acts of the Apostles.
The Evangelist Saint Luke, in his first Gospel book, has narrated the life of Jesus. Born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, adored by shepherds and kings, cared for by the Virgin and Saint Joseph, preacher of the Good News of God’s love, comforter of the afflicted, Teacher of God’s truth to the people, works miracles, heals sick, forgives sinners, celebrates the Passover Supper with his apostles, is arrested, insulted, scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and rises on the third day and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit to his Church and returns to the House of God Father in heaven.
He leaves a mission to his followers, which tells us the Gospel of Saint Mark 16: 15-20.
Each of the followers of Christ has been asked to go and preach the Gospel. There are many Christians who have gone to the ends of the world. But he asks each one of us to go to those we love, to go to those around us: to go to our children, grandchildren, relatives, friends and tell them about Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his teachings. Tell them what we have lived, felt and experienced in the Church, in prayer, at Mass.
Those we love see what it means for us to believe in Christ, to live like Christ. For every Christian it is a joy and a joy to contemplate how those around us draw near to Christ, are captivated by Christ, live like Christ. So we are preaching the gospel.
In our teaching and preaching we will find difficulties, rejection, indifference, mockery … But the promised Holy Spirit will fill us with strength and perseverance.
And we hope one day, after having lived like Christ, to be with Him in the house of heaven along with all our family and friends.
One of the highlights of a relay race at the Olympics is when one runner passes the baton to another.
Many races have been won or lost at that time more than at any other time. Passing the baton is a good image of the Ascension of Jesus. The Lord gives us the baton of his kingdom, of his Church. He has passed on to us the responsibility of making the gospel, love, present in our homes, neighborhoods, and churches. And each of us are called to pass this responsibility on to our children and grandchildren.
Italian composer Giacomo Puccini suffered cancer while working on his latest opera, Tirandot. He told his students, “If I don’t finish it, finish it for me.” Shortly after he passed away. His students fulfilled his wish. In 1926, Arturo Toscanini directed the premiere of the opera in the city of Milan. When the opera reached the point where Puccini did not continue, his disciple Toscanini stopped, turned to the audience and said: “The Master wrote this far and then he passed away.” A reverent silence filled the theater. Then Toscanini raised the baton again, smiled through tears and said: “But we, his disciples, finished his opera.” At the end, the attendees broke into a loud and long applause.
How ready and willing am I to continue the mission that Jesus Christ has left me to finish his work?
Our families, our churches, our friends, need more people to work, and less to disapprove. More doers and less talkative; more individuals who say “can be done”, and fewer who reply “impossible to do”. More cheerleaders who inspire others with confidence, and fewer, whose job it is to discourage those who are trying to do something good. Braver who jump to the bottom of the problem and do something to solve it, and fewer advisers who meet to find fault in everything. More friends to tell us what is right; and less judgmental who judge us for what is wrong. More people lighting a spark in the dark and less content to curse the darkness.
Pope Saint Paul VI speaks to us of the joy proper to this Easter season:
It is a requirement of love for the Church to invite them to participate in this superabundant joy that is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
May joy spread in hearts together with the love from which it springs, through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
God disposes the intelligence and heart of his creature – even before manifesting himself personally through revelation – to meet joy.
Man experiences joy when he is in harmony with nature, and above all he experiences it in meeting and in communion with others.
Man knows joy when his spirit comes into possession of God, known and loved as the supreme and immutable good.
Poets, artists, thinkers, men and women simply available to a certain inner light, could, before the coming of Christ, and can in our day, somehow experience the joy of God. The primordial duty of love for neighbor cannot be forgotten, without which it would be inappropriate to speak of joy. The creator puts on our path multiple human joys: The exalting joy of existence and life; the exalting joy of sanctified love; the joy of nature and silence; the joy of work; the joy of duty accomplished; the transparent joy of purity, of service, of knowing how to share; the demanding joy of sacrifice.
Today we pray with Pope Francis and with those present, from the Cathedral of Saint Mary, in Australia, for the end of the pandemic and for the victims of violence and human trafficking.
I pray: God save you, Maria …
Next Sunday, May 23, we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. We celebrate the continual and perennial coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. We pray intensely that he will give us his strength and thus fulfill the mission that the Lord Jesus has entrusted to us.
All these days we can pray:
Come Divine Spirit,
send your light from Heaven.
Loving father of the poor,
gift in your splendid gifts.
Light that penetrates the souls,
source of the greatest comfort.
Come sweet guest of the soul
rest from our effort.
Truce in hard work,
breezes in the hours of fire.
Joy that wipes away tears
and comforts in duels.
Enter to the bottom of the soul
divine light and enrich us.
See the emptiness of the soul
if you miss him inside
See the power of sin
When you don’t send your breath
Water the land in drought,
the sick heart cana.
Wash off the stains.
Breathe warmth of life into ice.
Tame the indomitable spirit.
Guide the one who twists the path.
Share your seven gifts
according to the faith of your servants.
For your goodness and your grace,
give the effort its merit.
Save the one who seeks to save himself
and give us your everlasting joy.
We unite ourselves to Christ, the Son of God made man, to the Crucified, to the Risen One, who is in the glory of God the Father and sends us his Holy Spirit in spiritual communion.
The blessing of God the Father, who created us to constitute a beautiful and beautiful family; the blessing of Jesus Christ, who accompanies us in joys and sorrows; the blessing of the Holy Spirit, who can achieve our dreams, descend on the sick, on those who try to heal the sick and on all our families. Amen