Jesus rose to new life on Easter Sunday; forty days later Jesus went back to heaven; it is called the Ascension.
This is a story about it: Jesus arrived in heaven. He still had the marks of his suffering on his hands and feet and all over his body. The chief angel came to Jesus and said, “Lord, do the people on earth know how much you suffered for them, how much you love them?” Jesus said, “Some of them know, Peter, John, James and a few others; they know. Then they will tell other people and those people will tell other people. And then all the people on earth will know how much I love them.” The angel was puzzled and said, “That is fine, Lord. But you know human people are weak; maybe they will forget; they might reject you. If Peter and the rest forget you or reject you, do you have a back-up plan, a second plan?” Jesus told him, “No, there is no second, back-up plan. I depend on Peter and the others telling people about my love for them and they will tell other people and those people will tell other people. That is the only plan I have.”
Still that is the only plan Jesus has. He depended on Peter, John, James and the others to tell people about the love of Jesus. We know Jesus’s plan worked, how? Two thousand years later we are here, and we know how much Jesus suffered for us and how much Jesus loves us. Now Jesus has the same plan; now Jesus depends on us to tell others about the love he has for us and his love for all the people in the world. Jesus does not have another plan. He still depends on us to tell others about him..
What does this mean? We must go and preach to other people about Jesus? No. Words impress people now? No. People want to see the love of Jesus in our lives. People want to see the change that happens in us because we follow the way of Jesus. People want to see the love of Jesus active in our lives. They want to see our faith changes our lives. When other people need us, they want to see our love. When other people bother us, they want to see our patience. When other people hurt us, they want to see us forgive them. When something is hard and we want to quit, they want to see us be brave and continue. They want to see us generous and kind.
The best sermon we can give is what? Our lives. People see us live good lives and they will wonder this person is so good, why? They will ask us why, and then we can explain it is the power and love of Jesus in our lives. Then they will want to join us and love Jesus as we love Jesus.
Good example is very important. Our words, people forget. Our actions, people always remember.
There is a story about a man; his young wife was suffering for a long time with a very serious sickness. The man took care of her; but it was hard for him; he was feeling upset and discouraged; he felt he could not continue; he felt he wanted to run away and not be responsible for his wife any more; he felt he was not strong enough to continue. Then he remembered something he saw when he was a child. His mother was very sick. One night he got up to get a drink of water; he walked past his mother’s room, and he saw his father sitting next to her bed; she was asleep. The boy rushed into the room and asked his father, “What is wrong? Is mother worse?” And his father said, “No, she is okay; I am sitting here; maybe she will wake up and need something.” He remembered his father caring for his mother with great love; it gave him courage and strength to continue caring for his own wife.
We teach people best, how? When we give them examples of love, examples of kindness, examples of patience, examples of forgiveness, examples of generosity. People want to see the love of Jesus active in our lives. In the gospel today Jesus prays for us; he asks God his Father to help us do everything Jesus taught us. (For the words of today’s gospel, click here.)
Next Sunday we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit; the day is called Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit began our Catholic Church community. Ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom to know how to live the way Jesus wants us to live and ask for the courage and strength to live our best.