He’s With Us – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily May 24, 2020

“This feast of the Ascension is certainly one of those beautiful moments in the Liturgical year when we note such a significant event in the life of Christ Jesus as he was taken up in Glory and seated at the right hand of the Father.  That is the mystery that we celebrate in this wonderful time of completion in Jesus’ life.  One of the beautiful pieces that we have here in our church is of course the stained glass window of the Ascension.  It’s one of those things that we see every time we come into the church and hopefully we don’t take that for granted.  It is such a beautiful piece not just of art, but of faith.  It’s that depiction of Jesus there with Mary and the 11 Apostles and his going up into glory.  That particular piece by the way came from a church in Kansas City, MO called Church of the Annunciation.  It was a church that was located at Benton and Linwood in midtown of Kansas City, MO and when that church was closed they took the stained glass out and thankfully, Fr. Larry Albertson was aware of that and knew that it would somehow work into the environment here in our own parish, but it’s a piece that comes from the early 1900’s and made it Austria and then was installed there at the Church of the Annunciation, but I point that out because it is such a beautiful reminder of the feast that we celebrate today that Christ and all of humanity in a sense in now in union with God in a most unique and special way.  The opening prayer of the Mass today says it so very beautifully that it says the Ascension of the Lord is our glory and our hope, our glory and our hope.   It’s our glory because with Christ humanity is now in union with the Father in the eternal glory in Heaven and that is the promise that all of us have by our union with Christ.  It is our identification with Christ Jesus is truly the Glory that we have, not just sons and daughters here, but that glory of eternal life as well and it is our hope because where Christ has gone we will go and so therefore it is that sign of hope for all of us.

You know, we’re live in such difficult times in which so many people become discouraged and disquieted because of the tensions that are there because of the unknowns and the worries that so many people have, but in the midst of all those we are called to be a people of peace, a people of hope, recognizing that God is the one who ultimately is in control that God is the one who’s promised that he’ll make all things work together for good.  Yes, and sometimes God writes straight with crooked lines and we wonder about those crooked lines sometimes, but God’s action is there within our world.  We are all called to be not only people who have hope within our own minds and hearts that makes us aware that God, yes is with us and that we have that eternal destiny, but we are called to be witnesses of hope as well.  How do we witness of hope to other people, to those who maybe are downtrodden or discouraged, those who are so severely oppressed or depressed during thee times?  How can we stand for hope for them?  And that is I think a challenge for all of us certainly to accept that hope based in Christ into our own hearts and lives, but how am I as an individual?  How are we as a family?  How are we as a parish truly a sign of hope to others reaching out with the assurance that God is truly with us that God will make all things work together for good and the tremendous hope that we have that where Christ is we too someday will be that the purpose of the meaning of our life is truly revealed in Christ Jesus who not only died, but rose, ascended, lives in glory, but he also promised to still be with us?  And that’s the other part of this.  You know, the Ascension is not so much a spacial leaving as it is a relational leaving.  Jesus entered into a different relationship with the Father and it’s expressed in that term, ‘He sits at the right hand of the Father.’  That means to share in the work, the existence, the life of the Father and so our humanity is joined with divinity in such a beautiful way in Christ Jesus, but he also said, ‘I will be with you always’ and Jesus is still with us.  Jesus is with us each day.  He’s with us in the Eucharist that we share.  He’s with us in the communion that we experience.  He’s with us in the sacraments.  He’s with us in his word.  He’s with us in the gift of others.  Christ is truly still with us.  He has left us in that human body that was glorified, but now he is the head of the mystical body and joined with us in his life in sharing that life with us.  How truly blessed we are to share in the death, the resurrection, the ascension of the Lord Jesus and to be his witnesses to the world.”