Today, the Feast of the Ascension had the Conclusion of the Gospel according to Mark.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
Beloved, when I went to get in my car to go to the 8 and 10 am Mass, the garage door broke and I couldn’t get my car out. I was stuck. The door was too heavy to lift. In desperation, I borrowed my neighbor’s car and arrived at the church 2 minutes late, but the pastor was already going down the aisle. Yes, yes, I needed to breathe in…and breathe out…I ended up presiding at the 10 and the noon…and baptize 10-month-old Maximilian Stephen after the Mass. What a blessing that was! I was hoping to drive to Gainesville for a 25th anniversary of a parish at 2 pm, but instead, I was anxious, vulnerable and being used by Jesus at the Masses and the baptism. Maximilian and Stephen are two great Martyrs. I also needed to die to something. I needed to trust in Jesus.
I tell you this because I had a plan…and God had another plan (which was much better).
Maybe Jesus is using each of us for his healing of someone. Aren’t we asking Jesus to heal the people we love? God hears our prayers.
For my homily I shared about when I was about 19 years old and on my required year at sea for college, and not being able to call but once or twice from Africa to my parents. This was back in 1979-1980. Just hearing their voice filled me with joy and strength. One time at sea, God spoke to me through the moon. It was totally beautiful and terrifying, but I didn’t clearly understand until many years later.
Then, when I was sent to Fallujah Iraq, I remember calling my Father and sharing some of the stories. My father’s voice was like food for my soul. I once shared how an Iraqi Soldier came into the hospital with his buddy that was dead. When they went to bring his buddy to Mortuary Affairs instead of the hospital, he went ballistic and screaming. I walked in with this Muslim who only spoke Arabic and instantly loved him, but I couldn’t speak the language. In reality I knew the language of love. As the “Iman” I kept saying in Arabic “Allah be praised!” He fell into the arms of the Chief (who I would baptize in a few weeks) and in my arms sobbing. I was so mad that enemies would hurt this child of God. I then instructed the translator to have him look in my eyes and breathe in and breathe out. It was like standing back and seeing Jesus use my body and comfort this beloved man in the death of his friend. He stared at me and heard every word I said through the translator. Eventually he went off.
At that time, I wanted to hear the voice of my mother who had died in 2000. I shared with the congregation that in a way she could hear me…and I could hear her voice. Now a days, we can talk anywhere in the world with a cell phone. I pulled mine out. I prefer voice rather than texting. Sometimes we text to each other while we are in the same building! My mother had written me an anniversary card on my 10th anniversary to priesthood. I was ordained 22 years ago today. She wrote:
We are very proud of you and love you very much. The last 10 years have been very different for you to say the least. Good, bad, indifferent, exciting, blessed, scary etc, etc. But one thing is for sure you have always been in the hands of Jesus who has to love having fun with you. Don’t you think? We hope the next ten years will be just as wonderful.
Mom & Dad
I had this card from my mother when I was out in Iraq. It sits in my bible. It was like hearing her voice. Jesus is truly alive! He is in Heaven, but he is with us closer than a phone call. Every Sunday we gather together almost like in a phone booth and we call home. God, Our Father and Mother, encourages us…especially when under the burden of the Cross. God loves us and is with us always. God loves us too much to let us alone.
I remembered a song as I walked along the beach last night. We started singing it at church back in 1980 when I graduated from Kings Point. It goes like this. Please join with me as you hear it and believe it also:
We remember how you loved us, through your death
And still we celebrate for you are with us here
And we believe that we will see you, when you come
in your glory Lord,
We remember, we celebrate, we believe
Here a million wounded souls
are yearning just to touch you and be healed
gather all your people, and hold them to your heart
We remember how you loved us….
Beloved, please have a wonderful week. Remember to listen to the voice of God. Ask to hear His voice. You will receive His Love.
Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses +
P.S. TEAR IN THE DESERT, the TV special will show again on EWTN on Memorial Day, May 28th at 5:30 pm ET.