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

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