Father Rick’s Three-Minute Homily for the Ascension of the Lord
Sunday, May 21, 2023
A favorite way of praying Scriptures is entering the scene and experiencing what the people are experiencing with Jesus. In today’s scene when Jesus ascended into heaven, I began to wonder what it would be like
to hear that He is leaving, and we will never see him again.
I think I would be in the upper room with the disciples feeling that what happened to Jesus might happen to us. But even more profound than fear is that loss of not being with Jesus. I am afraid of what the future’s going to be like.
The closest we can come to that experience is when a family member or someone close to us dies. The sorrow in our hearts is unbearable. Jesus told the disciples that He was leaving them, and they would grieve. I would have recalled the three times he predicted His agonizing death if that was me. All my life would stop, and I would be overwhelmed with this news. It would be too much to bear.
A little later, I recall that Jesus said He would come back to us and send His Holy Spirit, who would teach us everything we need to know each moment. One time in adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, this happened to me concerning the death of my family members. In an instant, I felt them with me, in my heart, and it was incredible.
Then I realized how this happened. It goes like this: In the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, the priest, with his hands held over the bread and wine, says, “Send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts to make them holy, that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The bread and wine truly becomes Jesus, His Body, and Blood at the consecration—the substance changes.
St. Paul teaches us that the Church is the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is in heaven, including my family and yours. In Holy Communion, the priest or minister holding up Jesus says, “The Body of Christ.” We say, “Amen.” And at that moment, we receive with Jesus everyone in heaven, including our parents, relatives, and friends.
During adoration that morning in the chapel, I realized that the Body of Christ, Jesus, the Head, and all the Church members are in my soul. How incredible is Jesus! He returns to us in Holy Communion and brings all our loved ones with Him. They stay with us, and I have found they intercede for us in all we do.
When I receive Jesus in Holy Communion, I want to be free of sin, so I am worthy of Jesus, my Mom and Dad, and all my relatives and friends. It’s an act of love and thanksgiving for all they did and meant to me. So regular Confession is a real friend to me and them.
When you receive Jesus and your family and friends in Holy Communion, thank Jesus. I promise you; they are closer to you in Holy Communion than in all the moments they were on this earth with you.
Yes, He ascended to heaven, but He never left us.
Fr. Rick Pilger, IC