Mark 16: 15-20
Have a helium balloon on a long string. Tell the story of going to Bob-A-Lo and getting a balloon and having it come off my wrist. Let the balloon go up to the ceiling. Say, “People of St. Patrick’s, why do you sit here looking up at the ceiling? It is only a balloon!”
Today we celebrate the Ascension, and all too often we speak or believe, that because Jesus ascended to heaven that we think of God is way up there. When we do this, we are left with a gap between heaven and earth. Jesus did ascend, but there is not this gap. The Ascension is not about an absence but more about his presence everywhere here on earth. Christ needed to ascend to fill in all the time and space here on earth. It is not about a location as much as it is about a relationship.
Bishop Barron explains it this way that heaven and earth are layered together; they touch each other. We say this when we pray the Our Father we say, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallow be thy name. Thy kingdom comes, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Have you ever been with someone at the time of their death? What did you experience? It was heaven touching earth!
In our first reading from the book of Acts, the disciples ask, “Lord, when are you going to restore all things?” In our Gospel Jesus gives us his answer as he says, “Oh, I will restore all things, but it is not how you think. I will restore all things through you! I am leaving it for you to do! I will give you my spirit. I want you to go out and proclaim the gospel message. I want you to heal the brokenhearted, especially those who you have hurt. I want you to go where you are afraid and be strong and brave. I want you to love, those who I have given you and those who I have given you that you struggle to love.”
People of St. Patrick’s, why do you sit here and stare up at the ceiling? It is only a balloon! Believe because I am leaving it all up to us!