……from your Pastor’s Desk
Parting messages have their own impact. The last words said by someone moving away or even going away for a long time hold a special place in our hearts. I remember the many deployments I went on in my years of military service and how touching were those words between husband and wife, and parent and child. Previously, I have told you of the last few words my mother said just before she died. Many of you have similar experiences with family and friends. A final word of encouragement and a blessing at these times often mean more to us and have a lasting impact on our lives than the accumulations of all words spoken before.
I can still remember the last thing my first grade teacher (Sr. Mary Concheta) said to me in 1960 as well as a few other inspirational teachers in my life. But sometimes last words are not encouraging or healing.
Marriage breakups can leave lifelong painful memories of hurtful things said. An employer can frequently recall the parting outbursts of a fired employee. Final words have the power to make or break, to challenge or crush, to inspire or to inhibit, to energize or deflate.
Christ’s words as he left His disciples on Ascension Day are no exception. He clearly wanted them to know forgiveness of sins was for all nations – as He says in today’s Gospel from Matthew: ‘Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations’.
Important as our individual salvation is, the focus of Christ’s parting message is on the world-wide proclamation of the Gospel – the Good News. Of course it is through the living of Gospel values that we best bring Christ’s message to others, but the wider missionary task is ever present.
Ascension Day is a reminder of what we are called to do – preaching forgiveness in His name. It is a duty in which we all share and from which we must not shrink so that all people can be reconciled to God and with each other. In the security of faith, we bring such reconciliation to others by word and example so that, being gathered through baptism, all may worship him with joy. Through the Joy of the Gospel, we are to be a reconciling people wherever we go.
Go with God,