My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
As I was saying today, we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord but also Mother’s Day. And as I was thinking about Mother’s Day, I was reflecting about this special gift that God gives to us in our mothers.
Mothers are so special in our lives. And I was thinking they are so special to Jesus Christ himself, the second person of the Holy Trinity, and to God — that Jesus came to earth to be born of a mother, our Blessed Virgin Mary.
And it helps us to understand the importance of the vocation to be a mother in the world. God, Jesus, perfect God and prefect man, he wanted to know the love of a mother. And in his humanity, Jesus, the Son of God, grew up knowing the love of his mother.
Jesus knew his mother’s tender care, he knew how much she gave to him and sacrificed for him. And I think it is beautiful to reflect on and to know for all of us, because we see in Mary an image and example for all mothers.
And for us, all of us, to understand better the gift of motherhood, as challenging as it is, because I know that it is challenging. But it’s beautiful and just reflecting on that beauty of the plan of God for mothers.
It’s just beautiful.
So that tells us something about the importance of mothers in God’s plan for the world and in his plan for our lives.
So, today, we give thanks for all our mothers and we pray for all mothers, young and old. And we also pray for our mothers who have gone before us to heaven.
So to all mothers: Happy Mother’s Day! Congratulations on this beautiful day!
We pray that all our mothers will know how important they are, how special they are. Not just to us, their children, but also to God, who entrusts to them to a beautiful mission.
So today we also celebrate a great day in the life of the Church! The Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ into Heaven! Where he took his seat at the righthand of God.
In the first reading, we hear that the Ascension happened 40 days after the Resurrection, after the first Easter.
And in those 40 days, as we heard, Jesus spent time giving instruction to his apostles and talking with them about the Kingdom of God. He was getting the Church ready, preparing them for this day. The day of the Ascension.
So it is a day of joy! We celebrate today the whole earthly life and ministry of Jesus — from his Incarnation through his Resurrection — and now his Ascension into heaven.
This is what he came for. He came to show us the way to heaven. He has won the great victory for us —and for the whole human race.
So this a day for all of us to think about Heaven — the goal for our life. Where God wants all of us to go and have total, absolute, eternal happiness.
But today is also a day for us to think about our mission on earth.
I’m sure that you noticed — that in both the first reading and in the passage of the Gospel — we were hearing the last words that Jesus spoke on earth, as true God and true man.
It’s a beautiful message that he gives to his disciples. In the first reading he promises them:
You will be my witnesses. … to the ends of the earth!
And then in the Gospel, he tells them:
Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
And my brothers and sisters, as we know, these words are addressed to us, too.
Our Lord is also calling us to be his witnesses and to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world. Witnesses to his Resurrection, witnesses to everything he taught and everything he did — his miracles, and his deeds of compassion. He wants us to proclaim his love and mercy, through our words, our thoughts, and our actions — our daily life,
Jesus is calling us to bear witness — to talk about God with others. To tell others about the way Jesus has changed our lives. We have to bring Jesus to others and we have to bring others to Jesus. And we have to bring others to Jesus.
And today I wanted to share with you a beautiful experience that I had this past Wednesday. I had a meeting with some of the people — young people — that are doing youth ministry in the Archdiocese.
As you all know, we have youth ministry in every parish in the Archdiocese. And it is exciting to see the dedication of some many young people all over the Archdiocese and the enthusiasm of the youth in every parish.
The meeting this past Wednesday was with the members of three organizations doing ministry in the Archdiocese. They are national organizations and they do ministry in other parts of the country.
The Culture Project. Focus. And Net.
Different organizations and they do different parts of ministry in helping the youth to know more about our faith. They’re young people and they dedicate one year — or even more years — to be totally committed to be missionaries right here among our young people.
So they were talking, giving me some examples of what they do and what happens in their ministry. It was very interesting. But the first thing that really caught my attention and I thought it was useful for us to reflect on this today, as we try to see how we can be the witnesses of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.
So the first thing was that in their experience, the young people of our time, they want to be heard. They want others to listen to them.
And it kind of makes sense to me. We live in a world that is so busy. And we are all with so many distractions. And they too, they’re always on their little devices, no? It’s difficult to talk to them because they’re always doing something with the internet, I guess.
But I think it is important because listening to them is a great way to start a conversation and to start the ministry of evangelization.
And in a sense, also, I think that’s what Jesus did. You know, 30 years of life he was listening, and he was preaching for 3 years. So maybe listening is something that we can do. I have to do it myself personally, to what it is that we all want how we can get to know Jesus.
So that was the first thing. The second thing, they also said that young people are looking for a personal encounter with Jesus. And it happens when we show them who Jesus is through signs of love to works of mercy.
It’s not just to tell people that God loves them. We have to show them that God loves each one of them. And they discover that when we are there to show them love, when they see that we pray, when they see that we give importance to our relationship with Jesus.
That’s the way that they, little by little — by the grace of God and our example — understand that they also can have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
So, I think we have to do this in every walk of life. And we all can do it.
That’s the way that we really become missionary disciples.
Not just giving a lecture, or talking about this or that. Just showing them Jesus that loves them and the way that we care about them.
And we have a special duty to reach out to the poor and the vulnerable. To the people who feel lonely and discouraged and weak.
So, my brothers and sisters, the Ascension of the Lord is not an ending. It’s a new beginning. And we all are called to be witnesses of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is alive in our heart, through baptism, and through the graces we receive in every Eucharist. And he’s with us on our mission.
So this week, let us work on really living the Ascension. That means having confidence in God’s plan for our lives. Cause he’s leading us to Heaven. And he’s calling us to be missionaries, he’s going to be there with us all the time.
Then, we’ll really become witnesses of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, as we know, this coming Sunday, we’re going to celebrate Pentecost day — the coming of the Holy Spirit.
So let us try also during this week to try and increase our devotion to the Holy Spirit. Let us get into the habit of offering a prayer to the Holy Spirit. To ask him to open our hearts, that we can listen, and the we can show them with our deeds that God loves them.
Let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us to be open to the Holy Spirit and to help us to live the message of Jesus’ life, passion, death, Resurrection, and Ascension!
And again, Happy Mother’s Day to you and your families!
1. Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Ps. 47:2-3, 6-9; Eph. 1:17-23; Mark 16:15-20.