Feast of the Ascension
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: May 24, 2020
Baptism is not something that we receive, it is about who we become and who we are called to be.
Who are we called to be in the light of our baptism?
In baptism, we are reborn by water and the Spirit, therefore we can truly say we are children of God.
In baptism, we are united to Jesus, so we can say that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus.
Baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we are the people of God who dwell within the heart of God, who is a communion of love.
In baptism, the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon us, so that we are to be witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
In baptism, we entered the church, to be the body of Christ.
Look into the waters of your baptism, see who you are. Child of God, brother or sister of Jesus, lover living in the Holy Trinity, witness of Jesus, member of the body of Christ. What dignity, what beauty, the incredible mystery of who you are. See who you are, not with pride, but with humble gratitude.
The Feast of the Ascension is also about the followers of Jesus coming to see and live who they were called to be. Jesus sends the Apostles out saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …”
We are disciples of Jesus. We are responsible for continuing the mission of Jesus. To preach the Gos-pel, to bring healing and peace. We are to be instruments of reconciliation, helping each other to be rec-onciled to God and reconciled to one another. Our challenge is to live as disciples of Jesus, sharing in the mission of Jesus.
Someone tells a legend about Jesus’ arrival in heaven. There a vast host of angels greeted him. After the formalities, they asked him whom he had left behind on earth to finish the work he had begun. Jesus replied, “Just a small group of men and women who love me.” “That’s all?” asked the angels, aston-ished. “What if this tiny group should fail?” Jesus replied, “I have no other plans.”
Jesus has no other plans but us. In our baptism, we are called to be disciples of Jesus, to continue the work of Jesus. We are those left to continue the mission of Jesus. We are to preach the Gospel, to bring healing and forgiveness, to be instruments of reconciliation with God and one another. Look deeply into the mystery of Christ, feel yourself within the Holy Trinity, see who you are called to be.
St. Teresa of Avila captures this mystery of who we are in her famous prayer:
Christ has No body on earth but yours; No hands but yours; No feet but yours; Yours are the eyes through which he is to look out Christ’s compassion to the world; Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; Yours the hands with which he is to bless now.