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7th Sunday of Easter or Celebration of the Ascension of the Lord
Catholic Homilies
May 12, 2002

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7th Sunday of Easter or Celebration of the Ascension of the Lord.
Background:

We are offered the possibility of using either the 7th Sunday Gospel (John 17:1-11a) or, if we celebrate the feast of the Ascension on this Sunday, the Ascension Thursday Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20). Since this Sunday is the celebration of the great American Cultural feast of Mother’s Day, the day which reminds us of the shared human experience of having been, and in most cases continuing to be, mothered. For this reason we are using the 1st reading from the Ascension of the Lord for our reflection (Acts 1:1-11).

NB Any reflections on the Feast of Mother’s Day should bear in mind that there are people in the congregation that are not mothers -- all the men and those women who for various reasons -- some painful -- are not mothers.

Acts 1:1-11 Even after his resurrection and many appearances to his apostles during the forty days following that event, they did not really "get it". They were still waiting for Jesus to restore his kingdom in their midst. Nor did they understand what his promised of the Holy Spirit would mean to them. Imagine their consternation as they watched him lifted up and then lost sight of him in the clouds. The two men in white garments (angels?) ask them the critical question for them and for us. Why are we looking up to Heaven for answers when Jesus has made it clear that the kingdom is already here?

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Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a woman spoke about her conviction that Mother’s Day is the one cultural event that makes us most conscious of our common human experience. She reminded us that every human being has a mother -- has experienced being mothered. Even though we are separated by cultures and generations, this day reminds us that we share an experience with every other human being –including those long dead and those to come – (even the Lord Jesus). And, as Georges Bernanos reminds us at the conclusion of the Diary of a Country Priest: All is grace, we do not need to look to the sky for signs and wonders. We can reflect on our unity with every other human being. Even Jesus needed a mother to fulfill his grace-filled mission. The speaker urged us to act on this understanding, having concern for all with whom we share this world. Then when pictures of humans suffering from war and poverty and flooding and despotic leadership lead us to empathize with those who suffer, we will begin to work to bring the promise of the angels to fruition.

The speaker ended urging us to pray on Mother’s Day this year for all the children (adult and young) who are suffering and for their mothers.

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Then when pictures of humans suffering from war and poverty and flooding and despotic leadership lead us to empathize with those who suffer, we will begin to work to bring the promise of the angels to fruition

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