Finding the Way Home

(Homily for Ascension Sunday (Mother's Day 2002), Year A)

A couple of years before my mom died, I had an interesting conversation with her. It was night and the two of us were driving back from a family gathering. About midway in the trip she asked, “Do you think we will recognize each other in the next life?”

“Oh, yes,” I said. I was about to explain my theory that the recognition would require effort because no one can take his false self into heaven (it would wreck the place).

But before I could formulate my thoughts, she said, “I miss my mother.” Grandma Perich had been dead for over forty years and my mom still ached to see her again.

That desire to see departed loved ones seems to grow with time. I miss my friend Fr. Mike Holland, and of course my dad and mom. Yet I know there is just one path back to them: by unity with Christ.

Today’s Scripture readings affirm that Jesus not only rules the physical universe, but – what is more important – he is head of the Church, which forms his body. (Eph 1:23) Only by unity with him do we achieve our proper relationship with each other. That applies both here and hereafter.

During this month of May we recognize that Jesus has given us a beautiful help on our way home. In what was practically his final gesture, he said, “Behold, you mother!” (Jn 19:25) On this day we honor our earthly mothers, it is fitting we also pay tribute to the mother of all the baptized. While researching this homily, I came across this lovely poem written by the Philipino patriot, Dr. José Rizal:

To The Virgin Mary 

Mary, sweet peace, solace dear
Of pained mortal ! You're the fount
Whence emanates the stream of succour,
That without cease our soil fructifies.

From thy throne, from heaven high,
Kindly hear my sorrowful cry !
And may thy shining veil protect
My voice that rises with rapid flight.

Thou art my Mother, Mary, pure;
Thou'll be the fortress of my life;
Thou'll be my guide on this angry sea.
If ferociously vice pursues me,
If in my pains death harasses me,
Help me, and drive away my woes !


Spanish Version

From Archives (Ascension, Year A):

2014: Journey to Hope Week 7
2011: The Personal Center
2008: Ascension Quotes
2005: There the Action Lies
2002: Finding the Way Home (Ascension & Mother's Day)
1999: A Wake Up Call

From the Archives (Ascension Homilies):

2014: Journey to Hope Week 7
2013: The Way He Opened
2012: He Took Prisoners Captive
2011: The Personal Center
2010: Disappear vs. Leave
2009: What Good-Bye Means
2008: Ascension Quotes
2007: Separation of Church and State
2006: Whoever Believes and is Baptized
2005: There the Action Lies
2004: Forgiveness - In His Name
2003: What Does "He Ascended" Mean?
2002: Finding the Way Home (Ascension & Mother's Day)
2001: Submission to Jesus
2000: Beyond the Secular Paradigm
1999: A Wake Up Call
1998: Jesus' Rule Vs. Cafeteria Catholicism

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