Ascension

Scripture Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mk 16:15-20              

At his Ascension into heaven Jesus promised we would never be left alone, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” St. Augustine writes, “You ascended before our eyes, and we turned back grieving, only to find you in our hearts.”

Our Br. Placid, who died on the eve of Ascension Thursday, not only found Jesus in his own heart, but also shared his love for the Lord with everyone he met. At our Come and See weekends, candidates were invited to work with Br. Placid in the garden. After introducing himself he began work not by picking up a hoe but by picking up a Bible to read a few verses out loud, and then offer a short prayer. His example brought tears to their eyes. He was doing what St. Benedict teaches in the Prologue of the Holy Rule when he writes, “First of all, whatever good work you begin to do, beg of the Lord with most earnest prayer to perfect it.” 1 It was obvious that Br. Placid loved work, but prayer came first in his life. Here was a man rooted in the earth but whose heart was soaring heavenward because of his love for Jesus. One guest witnessed this in a simple and moving way when Br. Placid said they were taking a break from their afternoon work tilling the garden. He started praying the Rosary with them, right out there in the midst of the sweet corn, lettuce and rhubarb.

Br. Placid grew up in a large family of eight brothers and six sisters. It was during the Great Depression when people worked hard and still went hungry. But his family lived on a farm so they always had enough to eat. Like  some of his brothers Placid left home in his early teens. He hopped a freight train and traveled west to Oregon’s timber camps. When winter came he went south with other migrant workers to find work in warmer California. And that’s where he joined the Air Force in 1947. After training he was sent to Japan, and then Korea where he was awarded two medals during his years of service. When he left the air force he joined the Franciscans in Wisconsin for three years until he discovered New Melleray. His superior in the Franciscans wrote a letter saying, “He deserves the best possible recommendation. He was an exemplary religious, a pious and willing worker. We hated to see him go. But he craved a more contemplative life.”  

In those days, 1955, one joined New Melleray either as a choir religious or as a lay brother. You had to fill out a questionnaire that asked, “Can you sing?” and, “Is your voice true?” Br. Placid wrote, “No, no.” And that settled it, he would be a lay brother.   Well, he couldn’t sing, but he sure could pray and work, and after sixty-three years as a monk he was ready to move again, to an even better contemplative life. We hated to see him go, just as the apostles hated to see Jesus leave them. He did, and he didn’t. Like Jesus, Br. Placid has left us, but also like the Lord, he will be watching over us when he’s not messing around in a heavenly garden and asking Jesus to pray the Rosary with him!

Before he died I asked Br. Placid to send us two more vocations just like himself. He smiled and said, “That’s asking a lot!” But I trust he can do it, just as he can now sing with a voice that is so true and full of love it would bring tears to our eyes if we could hear it.  

1. Rule of St. Benedict, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, Prologue, verse 4.

 

                     

 

Ascension

[Scripture Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Lk 24:46-53 ]

St. Bernard of Clairvaux accorded more importance to the Ascension of Christ than to His resurrection! For Bernard the life of Jesus Christ was best understood in its relationship to fallen humanity; a humanity that is aware of both its separation from God and its intense hunger for reunion. Everything that happened in the life of Jesus, from incarnation to ascension, was related to a phase of our return to the Father. Everything that He did, we must do. Like Christ, we must live our lives intentionally toward this reunion with the Father. This intention is called “Wisdom.”

Wisdom's method is to find and follow the order of things. Bernard tells us that before Christ and we can ascend we must descend. To do this, the abbot of Clairvaux gives us six steps of humility that Jesus did and urges them for us.

Christ descended initially when He emptied Himself and became man. We empty self by renouncing the will to dominate, to “have the upper hand.” Then He handed Himself over to humanity for their acceptance or rejection. We do the same when we renounce the will to control and patiently submit to the unpleasant experiences that form part of our life. The third and final step of descent happens when we endure unjust treatment. For Jesus this meant His death. For us it is the step that separates the men from the boys. It confronts us with the truth of the limited power we have over our own lives. It is for this step that our monastic life is organized to prepare our minds and our hearts to persevere.

Bernard writes of the step that “so far it is the truth that compels your humility; it is as yet untouched by the in pouring of love” (Sc 42.6). Bernard defines humility as knowing the truth about oneself in the light of the truth about God. The real agony or struggle of this step is in this change in the way we regard or assess our experience of injustice. Here is where wisdom must be sought because wisdom is not just knowledge of the truth, but the good sense to take it seriously.

Taking truth seriously in the midst of crisis is how we discover the in-pouring of love. The discovery of love is the discovery of our unimportance as it is eclipsed by the discovery of what is most important. To this we show devotion. Devotion is life focused on One Thing. The mind and heart are prepared and courage and devotion are fostered by prayer and meditation.

The fruit of meditation, then, must be a decision: either to aspire to union with the Father or to settle for self-determined objectives within the order of the world. The decision will depend on the intensity of the hunger for reunion that Bernard describes. It will be an occasion for wisdom or for folly.

To aspire does not mean to attain by our own unaided efforts. St. Bernard tells us that the first step of Christ's ascension is His resurrection. He did not rise from the dead; He was raised. To aspire is to put our hope in what lies ahead. The fourth step of our humility, and the first of our ascension, is the innocence of our deeds in the face of injustice. Instead of retaliation, we “turn the other cheek.” The power to do that must come from a very strong reason. That reason must be LOVE for something more important than self. That love is wisdom.


In this step sentimental love for Christ will fail us; we must now imitate Him in His total preference for the Father if our love is to mature into a spiritual love. In ascending it will seem as though He has departed from us, but in reality He has only disappeared.

Bernard finds the real significance of the ascension in precisely that fact: that His disappearance occasions our move from sentimental/sensory love to spiritual love.

Thus, the next step is purity of heart. As a result of patiently submitting to the unjust judgment leading to the cross, Christ was given the power of judgment. As a result of our patiently submitting to the trials of life, and meditation leading to devotion, our hearts are prepared and set on One Thing. Here is the great blessing of fidelity to God's way of life: we feel certain of the direction of our lives, we feel favored and assured of the Father's providential care.

The third and final step of ascent, the sixth of humility, is devoted service. Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father. Having renounced domination and being freed from the bondage of self-concern we are willing and able to serve God and our fellows. This is how we love one another as Jesus has loved us: We live “FOR” the good of others. These steps of humility are how the sentimental/sensory love of things as they affect us is transformed into the spiritual love of how we can affect others. These Steps are how we learn what it is like to be a Christian on the inside.


Bernard's friend, Guigo the Carthusian, sums up the lesson of the ascension and of these steps of humility: He writes, “You can love others for what they are or may become if you love them; or you can love them for what you are or may become if you love them.”

3 Steps of Humility: Descent
1. Renounce will to dominate (Incarnation)
2. Patient Submission (Cross)
3. Endure Injustice (Death)

3 Steps of Humility Ascent
1. Innocence in Action (Resurrection)
2. Purity of Heart (Power of Judgment)
3. Devoted Service (Ascension/Sit at Father's right hand.)

Ascension

[Scripture Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Lk 24:46-53 ]

Fr. Stephen There's a story about an executive headhunter who interviews people for high-paying positions in large corporations. He said, “I try to put the person at ease in order to disarm him. I offer a drink, take off my coat, undo my tie, throw my feet up on the desk and talk about baseball, football, family, and whatever. When he's fully relaxed and unguarded I lean over, look him square in the eye and say, 'What's your purpose in life?' It's amazing how many top executives fall apart at that surprise question.”

During one interview when the headhunter leaned over and said, “Ed, what's your purpose in life?” without blinking an eye, Ed replied, “My purpose in life is to go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.” The headhunter said, “For the first time in my career I was speechless.” Here was someone who knew what real success in life was all about: “To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.”1

The Ascension Jesus came to bring us to heaven. By his ascension Jesus lifted up our hearts to focus on our true homeland. But what did real success for Jesus look like?

Consider the following story. A young man was hired by a large company to be on its team of janitors. He was very good at what he did so it was only a matter of time before he was promoted to Custodian Manager. He turned out to be a natural leader, not only at organizing effectively, but also at motivating others. This was the first in a series of promotions. Slowly but surely he advanced in the company, moving to higher floors and bigger offices as he acquired more responsibility and authority. Years later, he became CEO of the corporation and moved into Chief Executive's Penthouse Office with a seven digit salary. But he never forgot his humble beginnings. He began each day by visiting employees from the basement to the top floor, inspiring everyone by his example and leadership. He rewarded them with great wages and handed out large bonuses. Under his leadership he and the corporation went on to ever greater worldly success.

Carrying the Cross But that's not the success story of Jesus, is it? Jesus had humble beginnings, for sure. And when he began his public life he quickly inspired others to follow him by his preaching and miracles. Soon they wanted to make him king. Until then he was a worldly success. But this world was not his true homeland, nor ours. Because the world, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 Jn 2:16), is alien and hostile to Christians. Its hostility is being acted out in our worldly culture every day. People turned against Jesus. They stripped him of his clothes, crucified and buried him. By worldly standards he was a tragic failure.

But then, by his death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, Jesus showed us that real success is when we remain faithful through all the trials and tribulations, all the persecutions and sufferings the world can throw at us. For our purpose is to go to heaven and take as many people with us as we can. May we never mistake worldly success for our purpose in life.

Ascension

[Scripture Readings: Acts :1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mt 28: 16-20 ]

All of our readings this morning draw our attention to the manifestation of power realized in this feast. “All power on heaven and earth has been given to me.” “You will receive power of the Holy Spirit.” “The power of God at work in raising Christ from the dead.” But if anything (unless I am missing something), we are still confronting a lack of power in our lives. Personally, we are unable to do the good we want to do. As the “most powerful nation” we seem ineffective in bringing peace and order to the world. The more complex the world becomes, the more powerless we seem to become. We hand over our power to technocrats, to bureaucrats, to middle-management which is only accessible by punching a labyrinthine series of numbers on a phone menu. We are left to be content with a world of entertainment. Sports has become entertainment. News had become entertainment. Politics has become entertainment. Even the Church has become entertainment: we switch churches the way we switch channels, looking for something that will hold our attention, that will please and amuse.

The root meaning of “entertain” does mean to hold our attention. But it also means to “hold together.” There is an effort involved in giving our attention, of holding something in our mind and gaze. An action, an intention, is required to be present in a personal way to what we attend to, to what holds our attention. To watch or observe without any participation or commitment on our part is to sink into the shallowest meaning of “being entertained.”

Perhaps the stronger sense of “entertain” might be a way of getting access into the mystery of this feast. In his glorification, Christ “holds together” heaven and earth. In his body, he enters into the presence of the Father and so holds together our humanity and the divinity of the Godhead. In “holding together” the Son and his body, the church, the Father holds us in communion with Him. Baptizing “all people in the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit” is to immerse humanity in the mutual love which is the life of the Trinity. The world is now held together in this love. It is not for us to reorganize, much less to redeem, and even less to condemn the world. “It is not for you to know the times ordained by the Father.” It is for us to “teach them all that I have commanded you”, to give them access by word and example to a way of living in the world before God.

The power of “holding together” heaven and earth is an exercise of that priestly mission of Christ.
By offering the bread and work of human hands, the fruit of the vine and of the earth, we participate in the work of sanctification of creation. Its real goodness and beauty and glory is discovered in returning them to their source, as Christ returns to his Father. The power of “holding together” is realized in all those human efforts to hold together our communities, our families, our values, the intentions which so easily become distracted and fragmented. It is a power to liberate and free the goodness that often lies hidden and obscure. St. Bernard has described the Cistercian life as “hidden, obscure, and laborious.” He is not boasting, nor is he complaining. He is simply sharing the wisdom which gives us access to the way of living in the world before God. This is the way to hold together our human efforts with that power He exercised in raising Christ from the dead. It is a way of hiddenness, but not absence. “I am with you always until the end of time.” It is a way of obscurity because the mystery and glory of God's Spirit are only slowly discerned by hearts patient in attending to the works of God and not easily distracted by what appears to excite or be sensational. It is laborious, because it cares for the inner processes of creatures and creation and humbly waits for their “hours and times” of maturation.

The wisdom of God, which is seen as foolish by standards of the world, continues to be found in the heart of the world and of humanity. Unlike the wisdom which seeks power over others and over creation, which seeks to work miracles by eliminating the instrumentality and “inteference” of human work and embodied effort, the wisdom of God is a power which is glorified in the humanity and bodiliness which we share together in the Body of Christ. It is a grace and glory that comes to life in hearts and lives which “entertain” the will of God in their lives. It is the Spirit of God shared by those who “entertain” God in prayer and contemplation and find themselves being entertained and welcomed by God.

What Thomas Merton has said of a monastic community can be said of any community. “The monastic life (Christian life) stands over against the world with a mission to affirm not only the message of salvation, but also those most basic human values which the world most desparately needs to regain: personal integrity, inner peace, authenticity, identity, inner depth, spiritual joy, the capacity to love, the capactiy to enjoy God's creation and give thanks. There is no need for a community of religious robots without minds, without hearts, without ideas, and without faces. It is this mindless (and even body-less) alienation that characterizes 'the world' and life in the world. Monastic spirituality today must be personalistic and Christian humanism that seeks and saves man's intimate truth, his personal identity, in order to consecrate it entirely to God” (Contemplation in a World of Action). The Lord's Ascension is the impulse of his Spirit sending us into the world to find our own truth and consecrate it entirely to God.

Ascension

[Scripture Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mk 16:15-20]

St. Bernard of Clairvaux accorded more importance to the Ascension of Christ than to His resurrection! For Bernard the life of Jesus Christ was best understood in its relationship to fallen humanity; a humanity that is aware of both its separation from God and its intense hunger for reunion. Everything that happened in the life of Jesus, from incarnation to ascension, was related to a phase of our return to the Father. Everything that He did, we must do. Like Christ, we must live our lives intentionally toward this reunion with the Father. This intention is called “Wisdom.”

Wisdom's method is to find and follow the order of things. Wisdom makes distinctions. Bernard tells us that before Christ and we can ascend we must descend. To do this, the abbot of Clairvaux gives us six steps of humility that Jesus did and urges them for us.

Christ descended initially when He emptied Himself and became man. We empty self by renouncing the will to dominate, to “have the upper hand.” Then He handed Himself over to humanity for their acceptance or rejection. We do the same when we renounce the will to control and patiently submit to the unpleasant experiences that form part of our life. The third and final step of descent happens when we endure unjust treatment. For Jesus this meant His death. For us it is the step that separates the women from the girls. It confronts us with the truth of the limited power we have over our own lives. It is for this step that our monastic life is organized to prepare our minds and our hearts to persevere.

Bernard writes of the step that “so far it is the truth that compels your humility; it is as yet untouched by the in pouring of love”. Bernard defines humility as knowing the truth about oneself in the light of the truth about God. The real agony or struggle of this step is in this change in the way we regard or assess our experience of injustice. Here is where wisdom must be sought because wisdom is not just knowledge of the truth, but the good sense to take it seriously.

Taking truth seriously in the midst of crisis is how we discover the in-pouring of love. The discovery of love is the discovery of our unimportance as it is eclipsed by the discovery of what is most important. To this we show devotion. Devotion is life focused on One Thing. The mind and heart are prepared and courage and devotion are fostered by prayer and meditation.

The fruit of meditation, then, must be a decision: either to aspire to union with the Father or to settle for self-determined objectives within the order of the world. The decision will depend on the intensity of the hunger for reunion that Bernard describes. It will be an occasion for wisdom or for folly.

To aspire does not mean to attain by our own unaided efforts. St. Bernard tells us that the first step of Christ's ascension is His resurrection. He did not rise from the dead; He was raised. To aspire is to put our hope in what lies ahead. The fourth step of our humility, and the first of our ascension, is the innocence of our deeds in the face of injustice. Instead of retaliation, we “turn the other cheek.” The power to do that must come from a very strong reason. That reason must be LOVE for something more important than self. That love is wisdom.


In this step sentimental love for Christ will fail us; we must now imitate Him in His total preference for the Father if our love is to mature into a spiritual love. In ascending it will seem as though He has departed from us, but in reality He has only disappeared.

Bernard finds the real significance of the ascension in precisely that fact: that His disappearance occasions our move from sentimental/sensory love to spiritual love.

Thus, the next step is purity of heart. As a result of patiently submitting to the unjust judgment leading to the cross, Christ was given the power of judgment. As a result of our patiently submitting to the trials of life, and meditation leading to devotion, our hearts are prepared and set on One Thing. Here is the great blessing of fidelity to God's way of life: we feel certain of the direction of our lives, we feel favored and assured of the Father's providential care.

The third and final step of ascent, the sixth of humility, is devoted service. Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father. Having renounced domination and being freed from the bondage of self-concern we are willing and able to serve God and our fellows. This is how we love one another as Jesus has loved us: We live “FOR” the good of others. These steps of humility are how the sentimental love of things as they affect us is transformed into the spiritual love of how we can affect others. These Steps are how we learn what it is like to be a Christian on the inside.

Bernard's friend, Guigo the Carthusian, sums up the lesson of the ascension and of these steps of humility: He wrote, “You can love others for what they are or may become if you love them; or you can love them for what you are or may become if you love them.”

Three Steps of Humility: Descent
1. Renounce will to dominate
 (Incarnation)
2. Patient Submission
 (Cross)
3. Endure Injustice
 (Death)

Three Steps of Humility: Ascent
3. Devoted Service
 (Ascension/Sit at Fathers right hand)
2. Purity of Heart
 (Power of Judgment)
1. Innocence in Action
 (Resurrection)

“Three Short Sermons on the Ascension,” Cistercian Studies Quarterly, Vol 25.1 (1990) 3-8
Jonah Wharff, “Bernard of Clairvaux and Rene Girard On Desire and Envy” / Cistercian Studies Quarterly, Vol 42.2 (2007) 193-2

Ascension

[Scripture Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Lk 24:46-53]

A story is told about an executive headhunter who seeks out candidates for high-paying positions in large corporations. This particular headhunter always tried to put recruits at ease. In the world of big business Josh McDowell tells about an executive “headhunter” who recruits corporate executives for large firms. This headhunter once told him that when he interviews an executive, he likes to disarm him. “I offer him a drink,” said the headhunter, “take off my coat, undo my tie, throw up my feet and talk about baseball, football, family, whatever, until he’s all relaxed. Then, when I think I’ve got him relaxed, I lean over, look him square in the eye and say, ‘What’s your purpose in life?’ It’s amazing how top executives fall apart at that question.

Then he told about interviewing one fellow recently. He had him all disarmed, had his feet up on his desk, talking about football. Then the headhunter leaned over and said, “What’s your purpose in life, Bob?” And the executive said, without blinking an eye, “To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.” “For the first time in my career,” said the headhunter, “I was speechless.” No wonder. He had encountered someone who was prepared. He was ready. His knew what he was about: “To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can(Dr. Gary Nicolosi, Sermons: “Preparing for the End Time”).

The four gospels do not end with Jesus’ absence, but with his continuing presence, to bring as many people to heaven with him as he can. Matthew does not mention the ascension. His gospel ends with Jesus saying, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mark writes that Jesus was taken up into heaven, and then he adds, “The disciples went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word with signs.” Luke ends with Jesus ascending into heaven in order to send the promise of the Father upon us, his own Spirit. The last scene in the John’s gospel is of Jesus saying to Peter and to us, “Follow me.” Christ became more present in the world after his ascension than after his birth in Bethlehem. He continued his presence with us in the Eucharist, in the Scriptures and in our hearts. As Gerard Manley Hopkins expressed it, “…Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in eyes, and lovely in limbs …, [Loving] the Father through the features of [our] faces.” Like Hannah, the wonderful Jewish mother who chose to die in Auschwitz with her son, David, so he would not be alone, Jesus lives and dies with us so that we will never be alone. “I am with you always,” he said, “to the end of the age,” to the day and hour of a new beginning when we will ascend to the Father and be intimately present with Jesus, with his Father and with his Spirit and with each other forever.

Ascension

[Scripture Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mk 16:15-20]

The Fathers of the Church were great for symbolic interpretations not only of Scripture but also the Liturgical Year. Thus, St. Augustine sees Lent as representing the trials and troubles of this life and Pascal Season as the time of repose and contemplation, in other words the life of the world to come. He also saw St. Peter as representing the time of work and toil and St. John as representing the time of rest and reward of our work.

I am not sure what he has to say about the time from the Ascension to Pentecost. We consider it as an eight day novena in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. But the feast of the Ascension has something to teach us in itself. When Jesus ascended into heaven it marks the time of completion or fulfillment, the inauguration of the New Creation. We are all familiar with the term, new creation; but what does it mean? Another way of asking this is what is it that is new about Jesus? Did Jesus just restore what we lost in original sin? He is, after all, called the second Adam. We were created in the image and likeness of God and because of Jesus we have been redeemed, restored and set right with God. Is that what the new creation means? What did Jesus add to creation that justifies us calling what he did a new creation. Did he restore or do something new?

One way of answering this question is to look at what is the meaning of the mystery of the Ascension? Above all, it means the completion of Jesus’ work on earth and the fulfillment of the Incarnation and Resurrection. Jesus returns to His Father but what is new in this is that he takes his human nature, which means our human nature, with him. Because of this, our destiny as human beings is to live in the inner life of the Divine Trinity. By saying that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God we are trying to put into words a spiritual reality beyond words. The inner life of the Trinity is a circle of love: The Father loves and begets the Son; the Son returns his love for the Father which is the Holy Spirit. The Son, the Second Person of the Trinity now has a human and divine nature. Since he took his nature from us we will share in his new life. This is a new creation, way beyond what was originally given in the first creation. This is why original sin receives a new name in the Exultet which is sung at our Easter Vigil. It is called a happy fault: “Oh happy fault that merited such a Redeemer“.

This is our future destiny, to share with Jesus his life in the Trinity. What about now? Does the time between the Ascension and Pentecost tell us anything about our life on earth? St. Augustine has a great insight about this. He writes, “After Jesus ascended into heaven he is still with us in faith and love. We cannot be in heaven as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him we can be there by love.”

We speak of this life as a journey; of being on the road. We are not in our homeland. But in a real sense when we celebrate the liturgy or enter the inner place of our heart to pray we come into our homeland. Our homeland is to be where Jesus is. He told us he wants us to be with him where he is. This does not mean, as Augustine points out, in some far off future, it means right now. We come to the place that Jesus has prepared for us when we pray. Prayer opens the door to heaven. Through prayer we share in the life of the Trinity now by faith, then by vision.

Ascension

[Scripture Readings: Acts 1: 1-11; Eph. 1: 17-23; Mt. 28: 16-20 ]

Depending on the seriousness of the situation, living in an in-between state can be an uncomfortable and at times even a stressful experience. A situation which we understood at least to some extent is behind us, but we have not yet reached the goal toward which we are headed. It is not unusual to experience some degree of disorientation which gradually lessens as we concentrate on how we are going to reach our goal and we make some progress in advancing toward it. Today we are celebrating Christ’s ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven and his promise that he will return sometime in the indefinite future. This leaves us with the challenge of how we are to conduct ourselves in our in-between situation until the fullness of Christ’s return in glory is accomplished.

Through the apostles Christ has given the Church the commission to proclaim the gospel throughout the whole world and through all ages. He has also promised to be with the Church until his final coming in glory. As members of the Church we share in the Church’s mission to witness to Christ’s coming at the end of the ages and to witness to his presence among us now. Some members of the Church are called specifically to roles of preaching and teaching. We are all called to demonstrate our faith and hope in Christ’s future coming by putting his teaching and example into practice now in our own situations.

Christ fulfills his promise to remain with us by sending his Spirit to dwell in our hearts and to reveal how we are to serve as his witnesses. Like Jesus’ disciples during his ministry on earth and during the beginning years of the Church we will experience times of disorientation as the Holy Spirit leads us in ways that are unfamiliar and we are unsure of where we are going. These are opportunities to grow in faith and hope. In order to grow in faith and hope we need to experience situations where we are required to live in faith and hope. This morning’s liturgy offers us an opportunity to reaffirm our faith that Christ has been given authority over all creation and to reaffirm our hope to share in Christ’s triumph at his return in glory. As we look forward to the feast of Pentecost let us ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen us as we continue along the way of Christ’s disciples and to give us the gifts we need to fulfill the share of the Church’s mission that Christ has assigned to each one of us.