Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. Having met with His Apostles for 40 days since His Resurrection, the Lord Jesus summons them to the mountain. We’re told in the Gospel that once the Apostles saw Him, “they worshipped, but they doubted.” Isn’t it strange that after these many weeks of seeing Him, eating with Him on the seashore, and being charged with the power of forgiveness of sins, they are still doubting? But they do, and oftentimes so do we. After all He has done for us, been there for our most difficult moments, we can still sometimes doubt His great love? Jesus gives one last command, “All power in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the ages.” Since that day, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing isn’t it? We have gone to all corners of the earth and spread the Gospel. We have baptized billions. We have built Churches and Schools and shared the faith with countless generations. But then we come to 2023. How are we doing? Over half of baptized Catholics are no longer practicing their faith. They admit to ‘being’ Catholic, but the living out of the faith has become secondary to their lives. Do we ever need a New Evangelization! We need to hear that commission, “Go, make disciples!” We need to embrace the call of Jesus to share our faith with a faithless generation; to embrace our own personal discipleship and reinvigorate the Church of the 21st Century to more actively live the great commission. And so, we are embarking on such a path with All Things New. Is it scary? Maybe! But remember Jesus’ words to us, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Wherever we are, He is here. He will always be with us. That’s His promise and Good News folks, Jesus never breaks His promises.
With all that being said, next weekend we will have the announcement we have preparing for over the past several years. Archbishop Rozanski will formally announce the new pastorates of our Archdiocese, and who the new pastors will be. For us here at St. Luke the Evangelist I do not expect any surprises. All along the journey it looked as if the merging of St. Luke with Our Lady of Lourdes was probably the best scenario. Who the new pastor will be is certainly something to look forward to. It will be his task to bring the two parishes together and create a united community reading to be about our task of discipleship. I don’t foresee many immediate changes, save perhaps a changed Mass schedule, but we shall see when we hear the announcement next weekend. As much as some of you may have hoped I would be asked to take on the task, I can assure you that I have been chosen for a new assignment, which will also be announced next weekend.
As I have asked so many times these past many months, please pray for our Archbishop this coming week, for the priests who will be undertaking the process of bringing communities together, and for all Catholics of our Archdiocese who will find the changes challenging to their comfortability. God Bless and pray, pray, pray!
God Bless! Happy Ascension!
Please continue praying 3 Hail Marys. Fr. Pete