As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension. Luke, the author of the Gospel named after him, and the Acts of the Apostles both describe this event in each of these books. While the description is different between these two books, the importance of this event is what we recognize today; the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and His triumphant entry into Heaven where He reigns with the Father. Jesus has taken His rightful place where He judges souls. We know He is the just judge, merciful and loving. He desires us to dwell with Him but will not force His Will upon us. We must freely choose to follow Him because true love allows total freedom.
At times, we struggle with this gift of free will. Each of us wants what is best; to dwell with God forever in Heaven. However, our human will also has desire for the pleasures of this earth, and we fight within ourselves between the good of Heaven and earth. When we come to the realization that everything here on earth is passing and temporary, it makes it a bit easier to strive for the eternal things of Heaven. When we hear of, or witness those who live holy lives, we see someone who seems to know where their priorities should be focused. The saints are great examples in this regard. Each faced the same temptations we do, yet overcame their desires to seek what is eternal. We each know how hard it is to accomplish this, yet we are not left to struggle on our own. Rather, God provides us with His Grace, a pure gift that empowers us to seek what is above and to live holy lives. We receive this grace especially in the sacraments, which is one of the many reasons the Church urges us to attend Holy Mass each weekend. God know how we struggle and, in His Wisdom, has given us the needed mandate to worship weekly.
So joyfully come to the Lord in Holy Mass! We are not forced to