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Feast of the Ascension

Today’s Mass Readings

Ascension Sunday 2020 

Matthew 28:16-20 

We all know that experience, saying goodbye. 

It’s sad, sometimes awkward, but usually painful. 

It reminds me of waving to Mom and Dad
so many years ago, in Chicago O’Hare Airport. 

I was leaving for my studies in England. 

I knew I wouldn’t see them for three years. 

  

It always leaves an empty feeling in your heart. 

I’m sure we all get that feeling 
when we know, we won’t see a loved one for a long time. 

It’s easy for us to connect with the disciples 
when they had to let go of their good friend, Jesus. 

  

But Jesus puts a different slant on this goodbye business.  

Even though the disciples don’t understand it, 
Jesus tells them they are going to take his place. Really! 

He is saying in so many words, 

“Brothers, I trust you; yes, everything I have is yours – the words I speak, the church I form down through the centuries, and even my very life poured out on the altar every day for the salvation of the world.” 

  

But there’s a catch – they must let him go 
of the way they have known him, heard him, loved him. 

That emptiness in their heart will then be filled 
with a new love, a new way of knowing him and being with him.  

That gift is the Holy Spirit. 

  

In this celebration of our Lord’s Ascension and in our prayers, 
we can remember people are struggling 
to let go of a loved one dying at their bedside. 

Maybe someone is facing a change like moving because of a new job. 

At this time, some people have lost their jobs. 

Other folks desperately need to go into a nursing home but are afraid. 

My heart goes out to people who are facing a difficult divorce.  

Letting go is no fun and can be heart-wrenching. 

  

And yet, the last thing Jesus promises is that he will be with us always. 

It doesn’t matter what we are going through. 

Jesus is smack dab right in the middle of it with us – 
we call it, “the Sacrament of Holy Communion.” 

How I want to treasure more and more
His Presence in all my thoughts, emotions, decisions, everything. 

His fullness of life is a whole lot bigger than mine. 

  

Along with “letting go,” we are told to “wait” – wait for the Holy Spirit. 

Let’s go to that upper room in our hearts with Mary and the disciples. 

  

There we can pray for expecting mothers in maternity wards. 

We hold up to the Lord people recovering from surgery 
or COVID-19 waiting for that day of healing. 

We pray for people waiting to bury their loved ones 
who died from Coronavirus. 

We think of people in overcrowded emergency rooms 
and spouses and children waiting 
for daddy to come home from war. 

  

The list goes on – 
chemotherapy patients waiting for treatment to end 
and students waiting for their exam results. 

Please pray too for those who are waiting 
for a moment of comfort in their grief. 

  

So, wherever we are, “letting go” or “holding on.”  

 waiting for that new experience of Jesus love, 
his Spirit in us – know this, my friends, 
he promised, “I am with you always, until the end of time.” 

  

His Presence makes all the difference. 

Welcome Him in everything you do. 

Know this – He’s waiting too. 

 

 

Rick Pilger

Father Pilger, I.C. was born in Canton, Illinois and was ordained at St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh, England in December 1978. He joined the Blessed Sacrament Parish in August 1995, coming here from Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton Florida. After 22 years as Parochial Vicar, he was appointed Pastor by Bishop Gregory Parkes in June 20, 2017.

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