Gospel Reflection: Ascension of our Lord May 17, 2015

Ascension of our Lord- May 17, 2015
Acts 1:1-11;Ps 47; Eph 1:17-23; Mk 16:15-20
Slide1
THE ASCENSION PARADOX

Stephen Hawking, a well-renowned physicist-mathematician-cosmologist, recently suggested, that if the human species is to survive, it needs to consider abandoning our planet earth and seeking refuge, elsewhere in the universe. He says via his voice box, “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. Our only chance of long term survival, is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space. That is why I’m in favor of manned, or should I say ‘personed,’ space flight.”

hawking-warning-artificial-intelligence.siHawking says we need to get out of here. Find a new planet to colonize. Start from scratch without the mess we’ve made. A better place is waiting, and there’s no mess there! hmmm, Sounds like a geographical solution to a mundane problem we created!
But why would a brilliant mind like Hawking’s attempt to think of a physical escape? Hawking is an atheist, the most profound one, says his ex-wife who is a Christian.He regarded the concept of Heaven as a myth, believing that there is “no heaven or afterlife,” and that such a notion was a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Hawking said in 2010, “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason.” He adds, “Science will win, because it works.” Thus, having no belief in an after life, one would certainly cling to the only life one knows.

Obviously, the Ascension of our Lord into heaven, tells us a different story. Of this Ascension event, Hawking would probably say, “See! Even your Jesus fled to another world!” But did he? Of course not! Quite the opposite! And here is the Mystery of the Ascension Paradox: JESUS LEAVES US TO STAY FOREVER WITH US.
Q: What do we need in order to survive our stay here on earth?
♥ A: S.T.A.Y. !

Slide4

SYNERGY

The Greek word is συνεργέω (sunergeo, work with) from “the Lord worked with them…”(Mk 16:20) Synergize is “to work together with.”

√ Synergy in the Beginning. The world and all of Creation are fruits of God’s synergy: Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Gen 1:26) The Trinity creates in synergy and man is a product of this divine collaboration. Thus, man and woman are commissioned by God to work together as stewards of His creation when God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over…all the living things that move on the earth.” (Gen 1:28)

√ Synergy in the Incarnation. And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. (Lk 1:35)

√ Synergy in the Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry. “…and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Lk 3:22

√ Synergy in the End of Jesus’ Earthly Life. “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit;'” (Lk 23:46)

√ Synergy after Resurrection. Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Stop holding on to me, * for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (Jn 20:17)

√ Synergy after the Ascension. “…they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them …( Lk 16:20)

√ Synergy Today: Caused by God. St. Paul tells us that “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8: 28 NAS)

How do we express this synergy?

Within ourselves. St. James in his letter argues that Abraham, the Friend of God, was considered righteous for what he did, for his deed. “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;” (Jms 2:22 NAS) James is not saying that Abraham was saved by what he did. No, rather that what he did was in fact a fruit of his faith, and that the two were inseparable, they were “working together” (sunergeo).
Is there synergy between your faith and works? Do you keep your faith alive by doing good works?
Within our Church. St. Paul reminds us, “For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor 3:9) Then again, he says of communal synergy, “Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” (2 Cor. 6:1).
What have you contributed to your Church? Tithing is one way of living out this church synergy. How is your tithing?

Slide14

TENETS

The Greek word is τηρέω (tereo, to keep) from “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love…” (Jn 15:10) Gk. tereo may be translated to Latin tenere “to hold, to keep, to maintain,” from which comes the English word tenet, a teaching or a doctrine.

√ There is an interconnection between the Christian life and Tenets. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes our beliefs and teachings “as lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure.” So “if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith.” (CCC 89)

√ Unkept Tenets, New Religion.
One dangerous fruit of straying away from Catholic Tenets is a desire to create a new religion. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has, for one, inspired a new religion. Yoism, invented by a Massachusetts psychologist, Dan Kriegman in 1994. It is based on the “open source” principle that the general public creates a combined, creative authority and source of truth. It shuns traditional religious authorities and divine inspiration in favor of the wisdom of humans. Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein, and Sigmund Freud are among its revered saints.
Kriegman says. “Every aware, conscious, sentient spirit is divine and has direct access to truth. . . . Open source embodies that. There is no authority.” (Charles Piller, “Divine Inspiration from the Masses,” LA Times; July 23, 2006)

√ Not ours. Open source? No divine inspirations? No authority? Nah. Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein, and Sigmund Freud as saints? Nah nah.
Jesus is our Truth, our Inspiration, our sole Authority. Matthew’s ascension story reminds us of how Jesus said to His Apostles just before going up to heaven, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Mt 28:18)

Slide17

AGAPE

The Greek clause is ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους (agapate allelon) meaning, “love one another.” (Jn 15:17)
There is no other way to Stay in the Love of the Lord than by way of Agape love. Nope, not just storge, not just eros, not just philia – it’s agape. No need to say more but just a reminder from Bl. Teresa of Calcutta: “We have not come into the world to be numbered; we have been created for a purpose; for great things: to love and be loved.” Then again she said, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

Slide19
YES

This means “Yes to God’s Will.” The Greek sentence is γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου (genoito moi kata to rema sou). It is the fiat or the yes of Mary to God’s will: ” Let it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38)

Elizabeth Scalia, a Benedictine Oblate and journalist says it well: “God is the very energy of ‘Yes’. He is all that is Affirmative and affirming. It is by his ‘yes’ that all things come into being. And it is by our ‘yes’ that are able to co-operate with him, for our own good, rather than against him, and thus against ourselves.” (http://www.patheos.com)

Slide20

No, we do not need to get out of here! No, we need not find a new planet to colonize! Let us start from here and now. STAY! Let the Ascension of the Lord strengthen our STAY-ing power! May God Bless us!!

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