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    St. Mary's Parish
    211 Avenue O South
    Saskatoon, SK
    S7M 2R6

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Ascension Sunday – May 17, 2015



Catch Some Air

              When athletes in racing, basketball, or other sports leave the ground even for a few seconds, they are said to “catch air.” Especially when it comes to basketball, most of those players have a higher perspective than the rest of us who are only walking around! The euphoria of getting off your feet and into the air, however, lends an additional sensation not unlike our childhood dreams of flying. We feel somehow less materially bound, more than a mortal, if only for an instant.

 Maybe folks who feel compelled to climb every mountain or walk a tightrope or do daredevil stunts in a skateboard park are answering that same wild urge to transcend mortal boundaries and catch some of that rarified air. Maybe it was a similar urge that drove Saint Peter to get out of a boat and walk toward Jesus on the water. Being human weights us down with cares and limitations, a sometimes-leaden past or a sense of our own futility. Don’t we all feel a desire to be able to float up and away from everything that keeps us pinned to the ground and to all of the “have-tos” of our existence?

 Is there a way we are invited to ascend with Jesus on this feast? He asks his disciples to do just that in the 40 days Luke tells us he spoke with them after the Resurrection. After Jesus presents himself so improbably alive and glorified, he instructs them once more about the kingdom of God. Admittedly, he had a lot to say about God’s reign before he was crucified, but it seems as if they were asleep at the time. Now they’re wide awake, blasted open by the trauma and the magnificence of the Triduum events (are we?), better prepared to hear what he’s been saying all along.

Yet still, what do they ask him when they have this wonderful opportunity? “Will you restore the kingdom of Israel now?” They have yet to ascend, these friends of Jesus. They’re still fretting about temporal kingdoms and earthly authority. It’s as if Jesus said to them, “My friends, come up higher!” and they persisted in responding, “But lower is so much more familiar and comfortable!”

 We sympathize with these friends of Jesus because we, too, find ascension a challenging way to go. So much locks us down to earth: the pursuit of a living, the need to pay bills, the obligation to care for children and elders, the politics demanded by our social contract, the fragility of bodies not built to last. When we are asked to lift our gaze and maybe even catch some air by adopting a Kingdom perspective, it can seem impractical and even implausible. If we remain earthbound, though, most of what Jesus said won’t make much sense.

05 – May 17, 2015 – Ascension Sunday



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