The Ascension of our Lord is a celebration of Easter. In his death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus brought salvation to the world. Even though we cannot separate these aspects of our redemption, it is helpful to isolate the Ascension for a moment to focus on what it means for us. In the Ascension, Jesus Christ takes our glorified nature into heaven. That means that a "part" of us already lives with the Father in heaven! What an amazing mystery. As St. Augustine wrote, "God became human so that humanity may become like God." Whereas in the Incarnation of Jesus, God took our flesh upon Himself, in the Ascension, God takes our flesh (with His divinity) into the realm of heaven. Alleluia!
If we knew that Jesus would be present physically at a certain location and at a certain time, we would do everything we could to go to that place to meet him. But we DO have Jesus with us -- at every Mass! Jesus comes to us in a very real way in Word and Sacrament every time we celebrate the Eucharist. Today in the Gospel of John, Jesus gives us more good news: He will send us the Holy Spirit, another Advocate, to help us to know, love, and serve God. Alleluia!
En el capítulo 14 del evangelio de San Juan, Jesús nos dice, "En la casa de mi Padre hay muchas habitaciones, ... yo voy a preparar un sitio para Usteds, y volveré y los llevaré conmigo, para que donde yo esté, estén tambien Ustedes." La imagen es muy hermosa, y esperamos un día vivir en la casa de nuestro Padre para la eternidad. Pero Jesús quiere vivir con nosotros ahora tambien. Él está con nosotros por su Espiritu Santo, por la iglesia, y por los sacramentos. Para Dios es posible estar en muchos lugares al mismo tiempo. Jesús está sentado a la derecha del Padre, pero está con nosotros intimamente tambien.
Today's Gospel (John 14) gives us a memorable and much-beloved example from Jesus. He tells us that there are many rooms in our Father's house, and that he is going to prepare a place for us, and then he will come back to take us with him. Of course, this makes us think about heaven and the glory that awaits us after our life on earth. But it also speaks to us about God's very presence with us here at this moment; at every moment. Jesus has gone to heaven not to abandon us; he is in fact closer to us now than our very breath. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes, "This is our faith and our joy."
Today we read from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John, in which Jesus gives us his teaching on the Good Shepherd. It is a beloved image for us -- one that speaks of the security, love, and tender care that God shows us in His son. However, the dominant image in this first part of the chapter focuses on Jesus as the gate for the sheep. In order for us to have life in abundance, we must go in and out of the gate to find pasture. How do we do this? Through the sacraments that He has given us.
Hoy oimos la hermosa historia del encuentro de Jesús y los discípulos en el camino a Emaús. Los discípulos reconocieron a Jesús solamente cuando él les explicó las escrituras y más tarde partió el pan. Tenemos la misma cosa en cada misa: Nuestro Señor viene a nosotros y comparte su Presencia con nosotros en cada misa.
Today's Gospel is a gem for us (Catholic) Christians, in that we hear the story of the disciples and Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Jesus reveals himself to the disciples by breaking open the Word to them, and then a little later he breaks the bread and gives them his Body and Blood in the Eucharist. This is exactly what we do at every Mass. May we recognize the Real Presence of Christ -- Word and Sacrament -- when we gather for the Eucharist together.