“This great feast of the Ascension is a feast of fulfillment and a feast of hope. It is a feast of fulfillment because it celebrates and Acknowledges the fulfillment of Christ’s mission that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us in order to lead us into the fullness of life with God and so we have walked with Jesus in reflection on meditating upon his birth in Bethlehem, his public life, his ministry, his death, his resurrection and now his ascension into glory. In a very real way this is the fulfillment of Christ’s life, but it’s also the promised fulfillment of our own life because where the head has gone, we the body will follow and that is the firm hope and conviction that we have that truly through Christ Jesus we have that gift of everlasting life.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but on the feast of the Ascension I’m always reminded of the first man who landed on the moon and when he took that step off of the capsule there and went down on the face of the moon he said, ‘One small step for man, but one giant leap for mankind.’ Even more can be said of that with this feast because Jesus is in Heaven, all of us have that promise of eternal life as well. In a sense, we are already in Heaven. Humanity is in union with the fullness of the Godhead and Jesus promises that where he is we too will be if we but believe and follow Him. That is the condition. That is the challenge is for us to truly believe, but we celebrate this as a fulfillment of really what the next step for humanity is. Humanity, so often in science we think about evolution and the continual evolution even of the human species and maybe there will be further evolution, physically, but really the future of mankind has already taken place. Christ has entered into a new dimension of reality and all of us are called to enter into that new dimension of reality of living truly as sons and daughters of God as knowing the gift of everlasting life. That truly is the greatest fulfillment that we can have. It’s already been accomplished, but it is for us to follow Jesus ever more faithfully in a spirit of hope. Hope is confident expectation. It’s a confidence that God will be true to his promises and that is the basis for our life. Christ Jesus has promised us that where he is we will follow and it is our confident hope and expectation and so we live with an awareness, yes our feet are firmly grounded on this earth, but our eyes also are directed towards Heaven for our eternal destiny for the ultimate purpose and meaning of our life and in the meantime we are called to be people as signs of hope towards others that that is the message that Jesus challenges us to share. It’s that message of hope. It’s that message that life is important and that there is a greater destiny for all of humanity and as a people of hope I think you as a parish community have done such a beautiful job of extending hope to so many folks in so many different ways through your acts of kindness through your witness through your charity through your prayers. I think of all that various ministries that emanate out of this parish because of your involvement and because of your generosity and how those things bring hope to other people and that is part of who we are as a parish is to truly be those people of hope, hope not just for ourselves and for our own salvation, but hope for others as they struggle with the challenges of life and hopefully through our example they will come to a deeper appreciation of their own purpose and direction in life and the hope they can have in Christ Jesus as well.
What a great feast this is for us, a feast of fulfillment for humanity in Jesus, a feast of hope for each and every one of us to live in hope and to share hope with others.