The Missing Ticket: An Ascension Homily

ascension

By Matthew Janeczko, OFM Cap.

Today, I had the privilege of preaching at my new “home” – Sacred Heart, Yonkers.  I assisted at the 8:30 am mass that played host to both the grammar school and high school as well as the parish community.  I preached from the well, so this is the best recreation of what I said as I can manage.

This past Tuesday, I went to the Mets game with my dad and two younger brothers.  The easiest way to get to the place where the Mets play (if it’s not Shea Stadium, then it’s only the place where the Mets play) from Jersey is to take the 163 bus to the Port Authority and switch the 7 train (hoping, of course, for the Express).

Everything went without a hitch getting to the Mets/Pirates game.

The problem, as always, was getting back.  After a certain hour, the Port Authority changes all the gates for the buses back to Jersey.  After a four-hour game and a forty-minute ride to the Port Authority on a packed 7 Train, finding the proper bus terminal (not to mention waiting for it) is no easy task.

This is, one could say, the missing piece of the entire commute.

The disciples in Matthew’s Gospel today experience the same thing: there’s just something missing.  And they think it’s Jesus!

For years, the disciples had followed Jesus, listened to his teachings, watched him cure the sick, and drive out demons.  They had seen him crucified and met him upon his resurrection from the dead.  And yet, as Jesus is taken up into heaven, they “worshipped, but doubted!”

The same goes for us: we live between knowledge and doubt.  We think we know what our lives have in store for us and then are thrown a curveball.  We think we’ve studied enough for the test and realize that the material is much more difficult than we had imagined.  The list goes on and on.

Yet, the piece that we think is missing – whether it be in life or in our faith — is right in from of our eyes.

Each time we come to this altar, each time we approach to hear the words, “The Body of Christ” and respond “Amen,” we learn once again that when Jesus said, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age,” he meant it!

That is why we come here as a community each Sunday – each time we have mass together as a school – to remember that Jesus is with us.

The readings this week challenge us to find the missing piece in our lives: worries about what to do this summer, how a new grade will be, what we scored on our SATs, and, when we come up to community to ask Jesus to teach us how to fill up the rest of our puzzle.

If we do this, we’ll find in time that getting to the right bus terminal isn’t too difficult.

Neither is finding Jesus.

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