Saturday, May 31, 2014

06-01-2014 -- Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A

June 01, 2014 - Ascension, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

Why are you just standing there?

The two men, God’s angels, dressed in white, ask them:
Why are you standing around?

In our lives there are times when we just stand around.  We know we should act, but we just stand there waiting for something to happen, waiting for someone else to do it.

We might be paralyzed by fear or apathy or anger or peer pressure or jealousy or whatever.

Just standing around, dumbfounded, we become spectators watching life pass us by.

On this Feast of the Ascension, Jesus calls his disciples to action.

He commissions them to go and make disciples, to go and baptize, to go and evangelize in his name.

But the call isn’t just for them, it isn’t just for me, it’s for all of us. The call is for the entire Church.

The angels say to all of us, “Why are you just standing around?”

Who else is going to consistently recognize and uphold the dignity of each human person?

We, as Catholic Christians, are commissioned by the Lord himself to stand up for the voiceless, to protect the innocent, to speak clearly against abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment.

Who else is going to consistently make a preferential option for the poor? 

Francis is not the first Holy Father to call us and commission us to care for the poor and the needy, the hungry and the homeless.

John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI all called for justice among the nations and peace among the peoples.

They all called for a just family wage and an end to name-calling, discrimination and persecution.

Who else is going to care for the sick and the dying? 

We, as Catholics, have been providing affordable health care through a network of hospitals and clinics, not just in this country, but throughout the world, for centuries.

We cannot just stand around.  We are called to visit the sick and the shut in, bringing them Jesus’ healing touch.

Who else is going to teach our young children?  There are approximately 50 million children in Catholic schools worldwide.

In addition, every Catholic parish has a religious education program to hand on our faith to the next generation.

Who is going to volunteer to assist with this most important task?

Who else so consistently prays as Jesus taught us?  We pray not just for ourselves and for our families.

We also pray for our enemies, we pray for all people, asking God to be merciful and to watch over and protect us all.

Who else holds up the Eucharist for the salvation of the world.  Who else so consistently proclaims that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away our sins and the sins of the whole world?

Why are we standing around?  Recently someone asked me, “Do you mind if I repaint all the benches in the church square?  It’s what I do and I’d love to help out.”

I said, “I’d love for you to do that for us.”

If you see something that needs to be done, and you can do it, then step forward. 

That’s what disciples do.  They don’t stand around gossiping. They don’t mill about, criticizing others or spreading negativity.

They are not idly watching life pass by while doing nothing other than complaining.

No!  Disciples go and do what Jesus commissioned them to do!

We are Jesus’ disciples here and now.

Why are we just standing around?

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

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