The dove and the pelican: A homily for the Ascension (B)

Ttimthumboday we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord.  Some time ago I’d had a day. Nothing seemed to go the right way, and I remember that after the day of problems was finally over, I went to bed and stubbed my toe. I was just done with it all. Then I did my evening prayers and came to psalm 55, where the psalmist says, “O that I had wings like a dove that I could fly away and find peace.”  The scripture put words on my thoughts that day.

We can fly away like a dove, of course. The Lord Jesus ascended to the heavens. We who remain in him every day are caught up in that ascension.  Jesus ascended above the much and the problems of the world. We can too, if we remain in him.  And as the scripture reminds us tdoay, his body is the church. We remain here, and we can be lifted up out of our trials and the things that would pin any other wretch down to earth. We can fly away like a dove.

We also celebrate mother’s day today.  Another bird came to mind–the pelican. The mother pelican is a beautiful thing. She will feed her babies with her own flesh if they have nothing else to eat.  And she will even give so much of her flesh that she herself dies.  She gives of herself that much. She sacrifices her very life for her babies.  The same with Jesus, of course…which is why the pelican is an image of the Eucharist.  You know, we learn a lot from our moms.  But maybe the most important thing they teach us–by their love for us–is the very heart of God.  A Christian mother reveals the heart of Jesus in her motherhood, in her love for her babies.

There is a little boy in kindergarten here at St Joe.  The other day the folks from the diocese came down to make a video. They asked me to find two young boys who want to be priests.  This one boy–he is something else!  The lady asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He replied, “A ninja priest!” What’s that, she asked.  “Well, I used to want to be a ninja, but now I think it’s better to be a priest, but I still want to be a ninja too, so I’ll be both!”  Then she asked what his favorite book is. “The bible, of course.”  “What’s your favorite story in the bible?” “Adam and Eve, I think,” he replied.  “What do you like about that story?” she asked.  “Well, let me tell you the whole thing….”  It was a hoot.  But that boy’s faith–it comes largely from his mom.

God so loves motherhood that, when he came to earth, he came through a mother, the Virgin Mary.  Mothers: we love you very much. thank you.