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The Ascension of The Lord: Homily - Father Michael Kim

My brothers and sisters, welcome to today's celebration of the Holy Mass. I pray that the love and grace of Jesus dwells within all of you on this beautiful spiritual day. Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. This Feast commemorates the elevation of Christ into Heaven by His own power in the presence of His disciples on the fortieth day after His glorious Resurrection. The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven completed His earthly work of our redemption. Through His numerous apparitions to hundreds of people between the Day of His glorious Resurrection and the Day of His Ascension, Jesus proved two things. First of all, He proved that He was the promised Messiah. Secondly, He proved that through He Who overcame death, those who persevere in their living faith shall also overcome death and inherit the Kingdom of God.

During today's First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles that spiritually enriched us with the Word of God, we heard the words that were written in the beginning of the second book of St Luke. In his first book, the Gospel According to Luke, St. Luke wrote an orderly account about what Jesus had done and taught from the beginning of His ministry until the day when He was taken up to Heaven. Now, St. Luke was writing about what took place following those days.

For forty days, Jesus had appeared to His disciples, presenting Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs. While speaking about the Kingdom of God, Jesus explained the Scriptures to His disciples. He ate and drank with them. He walked on the Road to Emmaus with some. He allowed some to touch Him to prove that He had a physical body. Having done these things, Jesus commanded the disciples not to leave Jerusalem until such time as they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of the promise of the Father. While John the Baptist baptized with water for the repentance of sins, Jesus would baptize His disciples with the Holy Spirit. Through His actions, Jesus was opening the eyes of His disciples as to what was to come.

Today's spiritual message is found in the Gospel Reading that we heard earlier. When Jesus appeared to the eleven, He said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to the whole creation.

The one who believes and is baptized will be saved: but the one who does not believe will be condemned." In other words, those who do not believe and refuse the Sacrament of Baptism will be condemned. It is absolutely necessary that one be baptized of water and Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

To those who believe, Jesus promised to bless them with spiritual signs. In His Name, they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. Faith demands belief in Jesus, in His Word, accepting Him unconditionally. We are invited to not shield ourselves with any name or title, doctrine or custom, and to keep ourselves always open to the surprises of God which demand a constant conversion. Names and titles, doctrines and customs, devotions and pleadings are like a tag that we wear on our chest for identification.

The tag is important because it helps us when necessary to meet a person we are looking for. But when we meet, we do not look at the tag any more, but at the face! Very often, when we meet the person we are looking for, he or she is quite different from what we imagined before. The meeting always carries some surprises. More so our meeting with God in Jesus.

During today's Second Reading, we heard St. Paul asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him, and the eyes of our hearts be enlightened. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the eyes of the disciples would be opened. They would embrace a spiritual heart that would open their minds to the fact that the spiritual Kingdom of God has come on earth as it is in Heaven. As such, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the eyes of all of you would be opened.

My brothers and sisters, as you reflect upon the Ascension of the Lord Jesus, remember that while Jesus has ascended into Heaven, He is here with us today. He is present in our hearts. He is present in His apostolic Church. He is physically present in the Holy Eucharist and in the Sacred Tabernacle. As mysterious as it appears, while He has ascended, our faith affirms to us that He is still here with us. May Jesus always be with each and every one of you as you are moved by His Spirit to proclaim the Good News to those around you.

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