Fr. Brian Konopa’s Homily 2017-05-28 The Ascension of the Lord

– Today’s readings are unique because both the first reading
from Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Matthew
speak of exact same event: The last time Jesus
feet touched the Earth, and the last words that he spoke before ascending to his Father. We heard in Acts of the Apostles,
“You will receive power… “when the Holy Spirit
comes upon you… “and you will be my witnesses
to the ends of the Earth.” In the Gospel of Matthew, “Go, make disciples
of all nations.” And so we hear our marching
orders from the Lord, that we are a mission people. We are to be his witnesses, his missionaries to
the ends of the Earth. What an honor that
God wants our help. And when we look into scripture, how did those first disciples
respond to Jesus’ command? While the disciples were
looking intently at the sky as Jesus was going, two men dressed in
white stood beside them, and the two angels
said, “Men of Galilee, “why are you standing
there looking at the sky?” Don’t just stand
there, do something! You’re supposed to
be his disciples to the ends of the Earth. Get busy. And brothers and
sisters in Christ, the gospel has reached
the ends of the Earth. And today we are the
disciples of Christ, we are his witnesses and his
missionaries in the world. We need to get busy. Now to be his
witnesses in the world, do we need to go
to the Pacific rim, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand? Or, do we just need to go
to nursing care facilities? Like Hillview or Bethany St. Joseph
and Benedictine. Do we need to go to
inner-city Chicago, to take care of the homeless? Or can we go to 3rd Street
at the Warming Center and take care of the homeless? All Christians are missionaries. Where is our mission field? It might be closer
than we realize. It might not require a passport. For example, many of you have
a very special mission field waiting for you. Your spouse’s heart. We give so much energy to
our jobs and our chores, our neighborhood and
community events, that we sometimes
don’t have the energy to make our spouse the
center of our attention. And so we tell them
we’re sorry, we’re tired. And we hope that they
understand and we promise that someday soon, maybe
even tomorrow evening we’ll have some time together. And thankfully in
most situations one
spouse understands. But then so often something
unexpected comes up. Or something we forgot. And then we apologize
and repromise. And we just hope that
our spouse understands and doesn’t give us
a tongue lashing. And we see the eye ball
roll, then this sigh. And that kinda
hurts a little bit, but at least we didn’t
get a tongue lashing! Married people, be a witness
of the love of Jesus Christ to your spouse today. Wash her feet, wash his
feet like Jesus did. We are to be Christ
to one another. Express your gratitude,
your admiration and your love for your spouse. Focus on the good and be
Christ to one another. Many of us live with others. And so for many of us that’s
where our mission field begins, under our own roofs. A little over a week ago, I
sent an e-mail to a friend, hoping, wishing that she has
enjoyed her Mother’s Day. And like many moms
she’s incredibly busy with work and family and her kids are the
center of her life. And she responded
this way via e-mail. “It’s been a whirlwind of
a spring, that’s for sure. “Mother’s Day was so-so. “My husband worked all day. “The kids never wished
me a happy Mother’s Day “until almost evening. “My daughter picked
a fight with me “five minutes after she
rolled out of bed that morning “and didn’t let it go all day. “My washing machine
wouldn’t fill with water, “the dog peed on my
living room carpet “and to top it all off, “we had to sing Be Not Afraid
in church that morning, “which is the song that reminds
me most of my mom’s funeral. “Like really God, really? “Why that day of all days? “I was glad when
the day was over.” Now I can testify that this
woman has a beautiful heart. And we can all testify that she needed some
member of her family to be the love of Jesus
Christ to her that day. Of all the people
in the Coulee Region that we can reach out to, so often we need to start
with our own family members. It isn’t an either-or proposition,
either family or others. It has to be both. But being a missionary
and reaching out isn’t about donating
on Mission Sunday or the mission co-op weekend
or using our Lenten mite boxes. It includes so much more. So for example, to my
little brothers and sisters, go into the world and
bring the love of Christ. And after you’ve reached
out to your own parents and siblings to show kindness, then go to Central High School
and Aquinas High School. Go to Longfellow and
Aquinas Middle School, go to Providence and Blessed
Sacrament and Cathedral and St. Patrick and
Hintgen and Spence and State Road and Southern
Bluffs and Emerson. Go and be Christ to others. Father, we only have
two and a half days and then it’s summer vacation. Well okay, but in those
two and a half days show the kindness of Christ
and when the fall begins, that’s your mission
field once more. The idea is: Go! Don’t just stand
there, do something! And be Christ’s love to others. Because under our own roofs, in our own schools
and workplaces and neighborhoods
and communities for many of us, this will
be our only mission field. But we are the people
who are best positioned to accomplish
Christ’s tasks there.

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