From Father's Desk

Dear Parish Family,

This weekend we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord, body, and soul, into heaven. After forty days of special instruction with the raised and glorified Jesus, it is time for him to return to the Father.

His parting words are now called the great commissioning, when Jesus entrusts the continued mission to his followers: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20) These are the last words in Matthew’s Gospel, what a climactic conclusion!

Ascension FootprintBut right before Jesus’ words, Matthew shares, “they worshiped, but they doubted.” Even after all these experiences, the special revelations, and dedicated teachings, after all the signs and wonders, after all this time with our Lord, doubts still arose among them. They were not all, all-in. It may be hard to believe for us, but when we explore our own hearts with courage, we will discover some doubts, fears, worries, concerns - whatever you want to call it.

The Ascension event brings me back to the Holy Land, to that place where Jesus lived, healed, taught, suffered, died, and rose. On top of the Mount of Olives there is a rock that has a footprint in it. Christians have venerated it for as long as people can remember. Many believe that could very well be the place from which Jesus ascended.

When we visited this site, the location of a current mosque, I got down and put my hand in the place where his foot was. I also put my arm in the hole in the rock of calvary where the cross of Jesus was lodged. I rested my hands on the place where his body rested in the tomb. I touched a marble slab where he was anointed with oil for burial. I bent down and kissed the place in the cave where we believe Jesus was born. Any pilgrim can visit these sites today and revere these holy places, touchstones of our faith.

These acts of veneration at the holy sites, physical acts of touching or kissing are reminders to us that we are fleshly people. We like to touch things. Kiss things. Hold things. For me, this reality communicates powerfully to the truth of the Sacraments, how as humans we need outward signs that really communicate invisible grace. We need the water, the oil, the bread, the wine. These are the tangible tactical physical ways that God communicates his grace to us. God touches us with his grace through the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

This weekend we are celebrating Community Sunday - one of the many things we as a parish used to do but are just getting back to, since the pandemic. It is a beautiful moment to gather together and share a bit of life. Just as Jesus gathered the disciples together on the mountain, or together in the Upper Room. As a church we are called, and we are stronger when we are gathered together.

This Sunday, we are expanding Community Sunday to include opportunities normally only available in the office. We are bringing the office to you, for the weekend! So please take a moment to head to Nolan Hall, get a Mass Card, join the parish, discover a volunteer opportunity. And sure - grab a donut. Gathered together we are stronger because we are fleshly people.

In his grace,
Fr. Wilson