Enlightened to our Calling and Destiny

Homily for the Ascension of Jesus

by Fr. Tommy Lane

At the end of school what do you want to do?
- I want to do my Senior Certificate.
After your Senior Certificate what do you want to do?
- I want to go to college.
After college what do you want to do?
- I want to get a job.
Then what do you want to do?
- I want to make big money.
What do you want to do after making money?
- I want to build a big house.
After that what do you intend to do?
- I want to get married.
What will you do after getting married?
- I will have a family.
What will you do after having a family?
- I will retire.
What do you want to do after you retire?
- I want to take a rest.
What will you do after taking a rest?
- I don’t know.
Will you die?
- Oh yes, I will die too.

We are so busy doing things, achieving, making progress that we can forget what life is all about, preparing to meet God in heaven. The Ascension of Jesus reminds us that during our lives we are “only passing through” on this earth, as we say. We are pilgrims on a journey. Just as Jesus’ earthly life was temporary, and he ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father, so also our lives here are temporary, will come to an end, and we will meet God in the next life. The Ascension of Jesus reminds us in all of our busyness not to forget what life is all about. Remember that conversation with a student. What will you do next? The student had an answer for everything but never thought about dying and what would happen then. Part of the prayer in the letter to the Ephesians, the second reading today (Eph 1:17-23; Years A & C), is so beautiful.

May God our Father...enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. (Eph 1:17-19)

It is a most beautiful prayer and description of living life preparing for eternal life. The Ascension of Jesus reminds us that God has great plans for us that are out of this world and that prayer in the second reading also reminds us that God has great plans for us that are out of this world.

You can look at your self in three ways: what you think of yourself, what others think of you, and what God thinks of you. The most important is what God thinks of you. What does God think of you? The second reading gives us the answer. God looks on you as his son or daughter since you were baptized:

May God our Father...enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you…(Eph 1:17-18)

You want the perfect house, the perfect car, in fact you want the best of everything. But in fact the best awaits us in the next life because God has planned the very best for you. In that prayer Paul prayed,

May God our Father...enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see … what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit…(Eph 1:17-18)

The saints are promised glory in the next life. Whatever possessions or riches you have are nothing compared to the riches of heaven. Can you take this £1 to heaven with you? (holding up money). No, it is nothing compared to the riches of heaven,

May God our Father...enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see … what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit…(Eph 1:17-18)

As we listen to so many reports about corruption it seems that people use all sorts of ways of exerting power and influence over others. Does God exert any power or influence over our lives? Jesus rose from the dead, and therefore God the Father “has put all things under his [Christ’s] feet”. (Eph 1:22) This is the power and influence of God exerts over you. So the prayer continues,

May God our Father...enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see … how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. (Eph 1:17-19)

God wants the best for you and through Christ offers you the best and therefore put all enemies under the feet of Christ when Jesus rose from the dead so that you can be free to enjoy the life God offers you. God has exercised power for you. Live with Christ enjoying the power God has exercised for you.

What a wonderful privilege we all enjoy as sons and daughters of God since baptism. How wonderful is this calling that we have all received. How wonderful are the riches of heaven that God has planned for us, it certainly makes us see all our striving after riches here in a new light, and how wonderful is the power God worked in Jesus’ resurrection to raise us all to new life.

Before Jesus ascended, he entrusted his mission to the Apostles saying, “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations...” (Matt 28:19; Gospel Year A) While that mission was entrusted to the Apostles, and to the bishops who are the successors of the Apostles, and their assistants, the priests, you can assist them in their mission to evangelize by praying for them and assisting them in their work for the Lord in so many ways, especially by giving witness that you follow Christ. This is another way in which you live the prayer of the second reading seeing what hope his call holds for you.

May God our Father...enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. (Eph 1:17-19)

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Ascension of Our Lord

Jesus Continues to be Present in his Church after his Ascension (Year B)
Related Homilies: After Jesus’ Ascension don’t just sit there - Witness! 2008

Waiting in Prayer for the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

Jesus' Ascension for our Salvation - Praying together before Pentecost 2011

More on the theme of above homily in The Glorious Future Awaiting Us

First reading, witnesses to the ends of the earth: Church growing through trials