Our Pilgrimage of Love

The movement of the Ascension will be complete only when all the members of his body have been drawn to the Father and brought to life by His Spirit.

The latter had gone forth as the only Son; now he returns in the flesh, bringing the Father’s adoptive Sons [and daughters]” (Wellspring of Worship, 65).

A couple thousand years ago, our Heavenly Father in sent his son Jesus on a pilgrimage of love.  The purpose of this journey was to seek us out and bring us back to the Father. And so, this pilgrimage of love began a couple of months ago when we celebrated Christmas. 

The pilgrimage continued six weeks ago when we celebrated Easter, Christ’s victory and the gift of our salvation.  Today we celebrate the completion of that pilgrimage of love.  Today we celebrate the Ascension, the final act of the paschal mystery.  The Paschal mystery is Christ’s death, His Resurrection, and His Ascension.  Each is important to the salvation event.  In His death, Jesus enters into the depths of our human condition, takes on our sins, suffers with and for us.  In His resurrection, Jesus conquers the powers of evil; sin and death, raises us to new life, and gives us freedom and peace.  Now today, we celebrate the final act of salvation; The Ascension.  Today is the day that we celebrate, “The eternal joy of the Father at the return of his beloved Son.” But today, we also celebrate our journey to the Father.  Because at Jesus’ ascension he lifts us up as well, and brings us back to Father and says, “These too, are your sons and your daughters.” But the pilgrimage does not end here.  Jesus’ earthly pilgrimage might have ended but now its time for the Church’s pilgrimage of love to begin.

A couple of weeks ago I suggested that all of us pray with the Book of Acts.  This is because the Book of Acts is how the early church proclaimed the Father’s love by remaining committing to love as Christ loves, to bring reconciliation to sinners, and to bring God’s peace and comfort to the suffering. The early Christians and how they responded to Christ’s paschal mystery are a model for us. They show us how to be Apostles.  They too were sent on a pilgrimage of love and responded. 

Jesus has completed his earthly mission.  He came down from heaven to proclaim the Father’s love to the world.  Now he returns to heaven, bringing with him, all of us.  Now it’s our turn…

Jesus says this much to us this weekend: Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.  And then we are told that we have apostles,  prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, to equip [us] for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. And finally, we have what sounds like a sarcastic comment from the men in heaven, why are you standing there looking at the sky? And now, It is our turn to go on a pilgrimage of love. 

So here’s the question for us to reflect on this week, who are you bringing with you to the Father? Jesus has brought us to the Father, now he asks us for help.  Who will we bring with us?


In Christ’s Love and Friendship,

Fr. Stephen

First Communions – A Reminder of the Joy that God Gives Us

Alright boys and girls how many of you are excited for your first holy communion tonight?  Why are you excited?  Did you know that you are giving a precious gift to the rest of us here this evening?  You are!  Boys and girls, your joy, your joy in receiving Jesus, is a gift for all of us to witness.  It is a reminder for all of us present, how joyful of an occasion receiving our Lord in the Holy Eucharist truly is.

As I look at these young faces getting ready to receive Jesus for the first time, I am reminded this evening, of my first time celebrating Mass.  It was an awesome and beautiful day that I will never forget.  Something that was passed on to me at my ordination I want to pass on to all of you.  There is a saying offered as encouragement for newly ordained priests: Priests of God celebrate each Mass as if it was your first as if it was your last, and as if it was your only Mass.  This saying is meant to encourage priests to celebrate Mass with the same joy as if it was their first, the same love as it was their last, and with same gratitude as if it was their only Mass.

This is my encouragement for all us present this evening; and especially for the first communicants!  Whenever you receive communion, receive Jesus as if it was your first time, your last time, and your only time! In other words, may we receive Jesus with great joy, love and gratitude!

How do we know that Jesus loves us? Jesus says, love one another, as I have loved you. The cross shows us that Jesus loved us so much by offering his life for us. Not only that, but Jesus gave us the Eucharist, his body and blood, as a constant reminder of his love for each of us. Through Christ’s action on the cross and the Eucharist, he tells us that we are valued, precious and loved by God.  This is why we have Joy.  Not because we loved God first, but rather because he loves us and has loved us first! Friends, we can learn a lot from these little ones this weekend.  Jesus proclaims to us this weekend that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.  In a special way, Christ’s joy is on the faces of these little ones, may we too be filled with joy and the knowledge that we are loved tremendously by God.

This weekend, may the joy of the first communicants be our joy, a joy that reminds us that Jesus came so that we might have joy and that our joy would be complete.


In Christ’s Love and Friendship,

Fr. Stephen