May 24, 2020

A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD –  CYCLE “A” – 5/24/20 –  SMG

+ Pax et Bonum!   Peace and goodness to you this day!

It’s the end of May.  And just like the Indianapolis 500, and the NBA play-offs, and the beginning of the summer blockbuster movie season, there are many typical end of May events that are NOT happening this year, all because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Perhaps, the most noticeable of these missing May events are the graduations:  College graduations, high school graduation, eighth grade graduations, even kindergarten graduations.  Almost all of us can recall how important of a milestone it was, to go through a graduation ceremony, and to have one phase of our life come to an end, and another phase just beginning.  I think it is particularly difficult for all of us to imagine the loss of high school graduation.  High school graduations are big events.  Family and friends come together.  Plus, there are cards with money in them, and parties and open houses, and cake, lots and lots of cake.  And I like cake!

No, another one of the saddest costs of this whole pandemic and its ramifications, is the loss of graduations for the Class of 2020.  I think we all feel bad for them.  I mean, it’s not their fault.  Nobody wanted this.  And they are always going to have the distinction of being the class that graduated in 2020, one of the most challenging years in the history of mankind.  Maybe that will make them tougher, or more resilient.  Certainly, they have learned to wash their hands better than the rest of us did.

The graduates of 2020 are not alone.  Today, as we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, which is really Graduation Day for the Apostles, as Jesus leaves them behind, and the Kingdom and the Gospel are turned over to them, you will notice there’s no graduation ceremony for them either.  There’s no diploma, there’s no party or cake.  There’s just two angels who show up and tell the guys to get to work!  Jesus had done everything that He could, to get them ready.  They are waiting on the Holy Spirit, that’s coming next weekend.  But it is with the Ascension, that you very much get the picture that a great change is taking place in the lives of the Apostles.  One phase is over, but a whole new phase, a whole new time of opportunity, is just beginning!  And very clearly, it is time to go to work.

My brothers and sisters, you and I are coming to the end of the most bizarre Easter season that we have ever been through.  Let’s be honest.  There’s never been anything quite like these last seven weeks!   But we have celebrated the resurrection of the Lord, even if we have done it in a most very different way, and we still know that Jesus is not dead, but He is very much alive, and now today, He wants us, you and me, to go to work for Him, building His Kingdom and sharing His Gospel, with our very lives.  Today we do graduate to the next level.  Today, the Lord needs us to step up our game, to get more committed, to take more seriously our role in sharing of the good news!  We’re all involved in this!  Two-thousand years ago, it was Peter, and James, and Paul, and Mary Magdalene, John Mark, and Titus.  Today, it all of us!   Let us make sure, then, that we are graduating on to the next level.  We can’t stay the same.  We can’t keep doing the same things.  We’ve got to allow this work of God, to grow stronger in our lives!

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Let’s all graduate to the next level in our Faith.  Jesus needs us to keep growing and keeping doing His work.

And to all of our 2020 graduates from here at St. Maria Goretti, we are extremely proud of all of you!  We too are disappointed that you guys didn’t get to have many of your celebrations and activities.  But none of that changes your accomplishments.  You have done amazing things and you will do even greater things down the road.   And sometimes they will give you cake for what you’ve done.   And there will be plenty of times when you don’t get cake, or a diploma, or a card.  Keep doing what you know is right.  Keep working for Jesus.  And know that God sees and knows it all for the future.  And that’s all that really matters!

+  May God bless us all, graduates and non-graduates,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…

AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…          Pray for us !!!