Father Arthur’s Homily May 24 – We Are His Disciples
Ascension Year A Gospel – Matt 28:16-20
The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
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.”
Father Arthur Marat’s Homily, May 23-24, 2020.
Today, my brothers and sisters, we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. In today’s Gospel, we heard how Jesus appeared to the Apostles in Galilee after He rose from the dead. It was not a coincidence that Jesus chose Galilee as the place to send off His Apostles to make disciples of all nations. According to the prophet Isaiah and from history, we know that in Galilee lived a mix of Jews and gentiles, most of whom were pagan. The fact that Jesus appeared to the Apostles in Galilee and sends them off to preach the Gospel to the entire world signifies how the good news is for each person, especially those who do not believe.
In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we witness how Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven and departed from the earth. And yet, as He takes leave, Jesus assures His Apostles that He will not leave them alone because He will give them the Holy Spirit, to empower them to be witnesses of His teachings to the ends of the earth. Keeping all of this in mind today’s readings leave us with one important question: What does the Feast of the Ascension teach us?
As baptized members of Christ’s Church, we, too, are His disciples. Therefore, when Jesus speaks to His disciples, He is speaking to us. This means that just like the Apostles, Christ calls us to show with our lives that we belong to Him. To enable us to do this, my brothers and sisters, Christ gives us the Holy Spirit, so that we will have the strength and perseverance to share His love with the whole world. You might be wondering “With the whole world? How can I share His love with the whole world?” Certainly, we cannot do this on our own. But, the Holy Spirit can. God has a plan for each of our lives—a plan filled with His love. To share His love with the entire world, we must begin by asking the Holy Spirit to help us be instruments of Christ’s presence to those closest to us: our family members, our coworkers, our neighbors. And as the Holy Spirit works within us, He will spread this love, like a radiating wave, throughout Chicago, throughout the USA, and throughout the entire world.
My brothers and sisters, we belong to the Catholic Church. The word “catholic” means “universal.” Christ’s Church is, as He foretold, truly universal. The Good News has reached the ends of the earth. And yet, there are still many people who have not heard the good news. There are still many individuals who have heard, but who still do not believe. On this beautiful feast day, the Church reminds us that God is calling each of us to be His instrument of love. God needs us to be His hands, His feet, and His voice. On this Saturday evening/Sunday morning, I would like to invite you to spend some time in prayer, to listen to the voice of God, and to see where He is calling you to serve. And do not be afraid, my brothers and sisters, of what He will tell you, because the Holy Spirit will give you the strength to follow His call. Amen.
Rev. Artur Marat