Fr. Brian D. Konopa’s Homily 2016-05-07 Ascension of the Lord

– We give a little
piece of our heart to everyone and
everything we love. Therefore, when
a loved one dies, we can feel like a
piece of our heart dies. If you ever had
that experience of going to a
cemetery for a burial, and when you leave,
you feel like you left a piece of
your heart there. Is this the end of the story? The disciples had
their hearts crushed when Jesus died in the
death of the crucifixion. They never had a chance
to say their goodbye. In today’s gospel we hear
that Jesus raised his hands —this was after the
resurrection—and blessed them. As he blessed them,
he parted from them, and was taken up to Heaven. They said their
goodbye, their homage, and then returned to
Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually
in the temple praising God. Why would they
have such great joy when they say their
final goodbye? Because they’re
not leaving a piece of their hearts in the grave. The Easter message is
that the grave is empty, and a piece of their heart
is with Jesus Christ, already our hearts
are in Heaven. And a piece of Christ’s
hearts is with them. Particularly, when
he sends his love, the Holy Spirit, to them on
Pentecost nine days later. And so the story isn’t over
when there’s a farewell. And in some way, our hearts
are already in Heaven. That piece of our heart that
we have given to Christ. One of the opening prayers, the options for the
Feast of Ascension say, “Grant Almighty God that
we who believe our redeemer ascended this day
to the Heavens. May his spirit dwell
already in heavenly realms.” We believe that a piece of our
heart is already in Heaven. Jesus told us, “Where
your treasure is, there also, will
your heart beat.” And so what are the
things we treasure? Jesus, his mother, Mary, our moms, our kids and our grandkids, our parish, our coworker, our pets, golf. Whatever we treasure, a
piece of our heart is there. And we love our
dearly departed ones. And a piece our heart is
already with them in Heaven. And so many of us, many
pieces of our heart, are already there. This feast of the Ascension
is a feast of farewell. It’s a goodbye. But it also is a feast
that’s marked with joy, and gratitude, and belief that
our heart remains with all whom we love, especially our
Savior, Jesus Christ.

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