Dear brothers and sisters,
This past Thursday, the Solemnity of the Ascension, we did a strange thing – we celebrated our Savior’s departure from earth. He became man and was born on Christmas. For thirty years he lived a hidden life in Nazareth, sharing the mundane struggles experienced by every working family. For three years he travelled around Israel preaching the Gospel, performing miracles, and training his Twelve Apostles. Then, when that work was finished, he redeemed fallen humanity: he reversed the tragedy of Original Sin through his sacrificial passion and death. Finally, to guarantee the trustworthiness of his teaching and his sacrifice, he rose from the dead and appeared to his followers multiple times. Then, forty days later, which corresponds to this past Thursday’s celebration, with his disciples and Apostles gathered around him on the mountaintop, Jesus mysteriously ascended back into heaven, back to his Father’s side, back to where he had come from at the moment of the Incarnation. We celebrate that – but shouldn’t we mourn it instead? Shouldn’t we regret and be sad that he is no longer among us? Doesn’t it seem that he has abandoned us?
Not at all. In today’s Preface (the prayer the priest prays at the start of the Eucharistic prayer) the Church tells us why: “Christ... has passed beyond our sight, not to abandon us but to be our hope. Christ is the beginning, the head of the Church; where he has gone, we hope to follow.” If Jesus had not ascended into heaven, body and soul, humanity and divinity, we would not be able to hope for heaven ourselves. The Ascension is the direct source of our hope. It means that we are never alone.
On this Mother’s Day, we offer a special blessing and prayer for all mothers, that they may find happiness, health, and love surrounded by their families. After the 11:00 AM Mass today (May 13) we are holding a simple May Procession and Crowing of the Blessed Mother statue in the church sanctuary, inviting our children who received First Communion last week and other children from Faith Formation and Preschool to participate. Next Sunday May 20, on the Solemnity of Pentecost, we welcome Bishop James C. Timlin, the retired Bishop of Scranton, who will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation at a special 4:00 PM Mass (which counts for your Sunday Obligation) followed by a formal blessing of our Eucharistic Chapel. All are invited to these joyful events in our parish!