Tag Archives: Transition

The Ascension of the Lord

Sunset

Study:  Transitions are a time of uncertainty.  Consider a time when you experienced a transition: how did it feel?  How did you face it?

Pray:  When faced with the unknown we come to the Lord for direction.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will send both wisdom (to know what to do), and strength (so you can do it).

Serve:  Who in your life is alone right now.  How might you walk with another in a time of transition and uncertainty?

Mass Readings – The Ascension of the Lord

There are moments in life when it is difficult to say good-bye.  Whether it is a relocation through work, the completion of school, or the death of a loved one, we know that these events challenge us to move on with the transitions in life.

The Feast of the Ascension marks one of these transitions in the Church.  This feast demands that we ask the question, “Now what?” as the Lord is taken from our midst.  The disciples must now discover the new ways that God is at work in their lives – especially now that Jesus is no longer with them.

But unlike other transitions, where people pass out of our lives and are separated from us by physical distances or death, Jesus leaves his disciples in a different way.  By ascending into heaven he does not move out of our lives, but rather he comes into contact with all life.  Through his ascension the Holy Spirit comes upon all people, and Jesus touches our lives in a new and mysterious way.

The mystery of the Ascension is closely connected to the Resurrection of Jesus.  The early Church recognized that the saving work which God did through Jesus included both of these events.  We say in the Creed, “…he rose from the dead…(and) ascended into heaven…” in the same breath – for these two events show that the Lord’s work is unlike anything else ever done before.

Through his Resurrection, death and sin no longer have power over Jesus Christ; his sacrifice on the Cross offers hope for the whole world.  Through his Ascension, all people can know Jesus and the Spirit; taken up to heaven, the Lord is now present to all people regardless of time or space.

This feast reminds us that Christ does not abandon his people.  The Lord is near, and we enjoy his presence even though we cannot touch him as the disciples did.  We know that God walks with us, and we trust that the Lord will give us the strength to carry out the mission of the gospel through the transitions we face in this life.

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

***************

This blog was originally published on May 5, 2013.


Daily Mass: Saying Goodbye

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Daily Mass Homily Podcast – Tuesday of the 7th Week of Easter

Daily Mass Readings

The heartfelt tone in the words of farewell spoken by Paul and Jesus speak to a common human experience: saying goodbye.  Change is often difficult, and one of our toughest moments comes when we know that people are passing through our lives.  While the pain is real, our faith reminds us that our final home is heaven…where our reunion in God’s presence will have no end.


The Feast of the Ascension – Catholic Inspiration

graduation

Fr. Andrew’s Ascension Homily Podcast

Feast of the Ascension Readings

This time of year marks a major transition for many students: graduating from formal schooling and beginning a new experience.  This practical cycle of human life finds a parallel with the Ascension – where the disciples are now empowered by the Lord to continue his ministry.

Three Great Things


Daily Mass: Handing on the Faith. Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Daily Mass Homily – Thursday of the 4th Week of the Year

Life offers its share of transitions, moments when we entrust our work to another and turn over our efforts into someone else’s care.  Of course, that means that things are going to get done differently – maybe in a way that we would never do – and we learn how to let go and allow things to happen beyond our control.  The key ingredient to this handoff?  Trusting and relying on God to see it through.

passing the baton


Ascension of the Lord – Navigating Change – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Ascension of the Lord Homily Podcast

This homily was given on May 16, 2015 at St. William Church in Foxboro, WI.

Change and transition are part of human life as seen in graduations, new jobs, relationships, and situations.  Like the Apostles on this feast, we can face our changes by keeping in mind three basic concepts:

  • Observation – looking & listening to our new reality
  • Reflection – by ourselves, with others & God’s guidance
  • Application – putting our thoughts into action

As the Apostles embraced their transitions the Holy Spirit empowered them to change the world.  May we continue to open our hearts to the Spirit and face the changes that come before us.

 


The Feast of the Ascension

393px-Francisco_Camilo_-_Ascension_-_Google_Art_Project

Study:  Reflect on a moment of profound change in your life.  What lessons did you learn?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for guidance to proclaim the Good News in your current situation.

Serve:  Do you know someone who is experiencing great change right now?  How can you help them?

Feast of the Ascension Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

About this time of year students experience transition.  The academic year is coming to a close, classes are wrapping up, papers are written and exams taken.  It is a time where one can clearly see change: teachers and classmates conclude their studies and look to new opportunities and experiences in the summer.

For some it might be work; others might attend summer school; still others might experience a move to a new location.  Change takes many forms, but through it all some key points emerge:

  • New People
  • New Locations
  • Opportunity to apply learning to life

The Feast of the Ascension is one such moment of profound change in the early Church.  Rejoicing with one another over the Resurrection, the apostles were flying high – the Lord is risen!  In this moment of enthusiasm and hope, the Lord (truly in the role of Teacher) shares with them a new lesson – it’s time to change and grow.

Now they are the ones who must teach; they are the ones chosen to proclaim the Good News; through their efforts the Holy Spirit will empower them to heal and drive out demons.  Simply put, the Ascension of Jesus clears the way for the disciples to apply the Lord’s teaching in their own lives as they continue Christ’s mission in the world.

We are part of that mission.  We received our faith from those who came before us, and today we have an opportunity to proclaim the Good News to those in our lives.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Family – who often see us in unguarded moments
  • Friends – sustained and strengthened by our efforts
  • Coworkers – witness our character and conviction
  • Classmates – supported and encouraged in learning
  • Neighbors – perceive our actions and effort
  • Strangers – 1st impressions that point to Christ
  • Enemies – encounter justice and mercy with forgiveness

The Good News takes many forms, and in our moments of transition we are given new opportunities to act.  May the Ascension of our Lord inspire us to look for change in our own lives and seek ways where we can live joyful lives as disciples of Jesus Christ!

**********

Ascension, Francisco Camilo; 1651, oil on canvas, 81.5 x 53.94 inches, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelonia, Spain.


Feast of the Ascension

Ascension

Study:  Name some of the most powerful life transitions (school, work, relationships, death).  What life lessons did you learn from these experiences?

Pray:  Ask the Lord to send the Holy Spirit into your heart for the wisdom and strength to face new transitions.

Serve:  Who in your life is facing a difficult time of transition right now?  How can you be a source of support?

Feast of the Ascension Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily

Her name was Miss Toft.  She was the magical kindergarten teacher who introduced me to the wonders of school.  From the very first day of class she seamlessly wove learning and fun together.  She was kind, funny, and dedicated to the kids in her class.

As the school year came to an end all of us were excited about summer, but several (myself included) did not want to leave.  We had gotten familiar with the routine, we knew what to do, we enjoyed our class, and we loved our teacher – besides the older kids were BIGGER and there was the great unknown of elementary school looming ahead.

“I don’t want to leave kindergarten!” I said.

She said, “But Andrew, if you don’t leave kindergarten, you will never discover all the great things in school.  Every grade has new things to learn and I know that you will like it.”

Then I got to the real point. “But I don’t want to leave you!” I cried.

She gave me a hug and said with a teary smile, “Even if I’m not your teacher I will be just down the hall.  You can say hi to me any time you want, and I will always be here for you.”

Looking back that moment was the first of many experiences of a simple truth: sometimes we have to say farewell in order to grow.

Throughout life there are numerous moments when we face a transition – we say farewell to a place, a person, or an experience in order to begin a new chapter in life.  The very process of letting go provides space in our hearts to experience new opportunities and thus grow and stretch in order that we can become more.

The disciples had been with Jesus for three years.  They had journeyed with him throughout his ministry.  They had witnessed the miracles, the healings and the teachings.  They were at the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, and from a distance they saw the agony of the Cross.  Then for a few glorious weeks, they encountered the Lord in all his resurrection glory – and just when things seemed to be incredibly wonderful he leaves them in the Ascension.

Why?  So they could grow in a new way.

It was time for them to take his teaching and example to the world.  Filled with the Holy Spirit (which we celebrate next week at Pentecost) those simple men will transform cultures and civilizations with the Good News of Jesus.  They will do more then they ever dreamed possible – because Jesus said farewell to them so that they could grow.  The Feast of the Ascension articulates the reality that sometimes the only way we can become more is when others step out of our lives and allow us (or obligate us!) to continue on our own.  The transition is not easy, but it does create new opportunities.

Jesus walks with us through our transitions as well.  Even when letting go and saying farewell seem impossible to do, the Lord guides us and teaches us that through this process we discover new insights and strengths to grow as his disciples.

What transition am I experiencing right now?  Do I view it as a painful obstacle or as an opportunity to discover new insights?  Perhaps the best thing we can do in a transition is to look for the lesson the Lord might be trying to teach, and then figure out how we can put it into practice.