My Dear Parishioners:
I think all of us have in our minds a picture of the Ascension of Jesus. Christ is lifted up through the clouds to take a seat at the right hand of the Father. But what struck me today in our first reading from the Book of Acts is what happens after the Ascension. Two men appear to the disciples and say, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing looking up into the sky?” In other words, even though Jesus ascended through the sky, looking for Jesus in the sky is looking in the wrong place. This is the scriptural way of telling us that we are to look for the risen Christ not in the clouds but in the circumstances of our own lives.

But where in our lives should we look? Allow me to suggest three places: in joys, in needs, and in opportunities. Looking for Jesus in the joys of our lives is looking in the easiest place. When we watch children or grandchildren play, when we embrace the person that we love, when we reflect upon the goodness and the faithfulness of our closest friends, the risen Jesus is there. But it is important for us to recognize his presence. The good things in our lives do not come to us because of luck or good fortune. They come from the love of God blessing us.

Jesus can also be found in the needs around us. When someone in our family needs our time, when someone at work needs our assistance, when someone at school needs us to listen, we should expect to find Jesus there. When we reach out to help, when we reach out to give, Jesus often uses that moment to give to us. We know from experience that we receive more than we give. The risen Christ will bless us when we try to help others.

Jesus can also be found in the opportunities of our lives, opportunities for hope, opportunities for healing. We can find ourselves devastated by the loss of someone through death, through divorce, or through misunderstanding. We simply cannot imagine our lives ever being normal again. It is then that we should look for Christ in opportunities of hope. The opportunity to have lunch with a friend, the opportunity of a call to service, or the opportunity for a trip with our family, can all be moments that Jesus uses to bring us back to fullness of life. We should look for those opportunities and take them.

We might find ourselves deeply hurt because of the insensitivity or selfishness of someone else. We simply cannot imagine ever forgiving that person, ever restoring that relationship. Then we should look for Christ in opportunities for healing. A note in the mail, a chance meeting in the supermarket might be just the moment that Christ uses to give our relationship a second chance, to restore the bond that was broken. We should watch for those opportunities and seize them.

On this feast of the Ascension, we should look for the risen Christ in our joys, in the needs around us, and in the opportunities for hope and healing. It does no good to stand looking up into the sky. Christ is to be found in the contours of our lives.

Fr. Monteleone

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