Acts 1:1-11 / Ephesians 1:17-23 / Mark 16:15-20
When I think about the Ascension of Jesus,
I think of the three D’s:
Dimension, Dignity and Destiny:
Dimension, Dignity, and Destiny.
First . . .Dimension.
I was excited to take an advanced course
on the Eucharist
by a professor named
Fr. Charlie Meyer.
He was a legend. . .
He had written several books,
and published many, many articles in
different theological journals.
And I wanted to learn more about
the Eucharist from this living legend.
Well, the first day of class,
Fr. Meyers walks in. . .
And says “hello”. . .
and then he turns his back to us. . .
and faces the blackboard. . .
and starts walking toward the blackboard.
We are all watching. . .
wondering what the heck is going on.
And Fr. Meyer walks directly
into the blackboard.
We hear a thud as his body hit
the blackboard and bounced back a little.
He turned around facing us again
and said, “Well, I guess today is not the day.”
We all looked at each other in bewilderment. . .
And I thought,
“What kind of class am I taking”. . .
“Has Fr. Meyer lost it?”
Well, as this advanced class on the Eucharist progressed,
Fr. Meyer’s actions that first day
became somewhat more understandable.
You see, Fr. Meyer, loved science.
He loved to read about Einstein and
about the different dimensions of time and space
in the cosmos.
He loved to study quantum mechanics and
was amazed that on a micro-level,
the smallest particles of the cosmos
act in very strange and unpredictable ways.
He liked to read about the different worlds theory—
about the possibility of
different dimensions of reality—
different dimensions of the cosmos
that may help explain some of the
surprising data coming out of quantum theory
And Fr. Meyer had read this:
that if all the atoms and subatomic particles
lined up just right as they were moving
through space and time. . .
then theoretically at least. . .
and all the particles lined up just right
as they move through space and time. . .
there was a real. . .
albeit minute. . .
very minute statistical possibility,
that at one moment in time and space. . .
when the particles in blackboard lined up just right. . .
and the particles in his body lined up just right. . .
that Fr. Meyer could walk from one dimension
right into another.
But when he walked into
the blackboard that day. . .
and bounced back. . .
well. . .
“well, today day just wasn’t the day.”
after I understood what Fr. Meyer
was trying to illustrate—
why he was indeed a legend in the classroom
Anytime in his class when we talked about the Mass. . .
or the Eucharist. . .
or heaven and eternity. . .
or the Ascension of Jesus. . .
Fr. Meyer spoke in terms of different dimensions of reality.
Not distance. . .
Not some faraway place. . .
but things close. . .
just in a different dimension.
You see the Biblical view of the cosmos
is a very different notion of the cosmos than
some of us moderns may have. . .
even though science may suggest otherwise. (Barron, Vibrant Paradoxes, 155-157)
We can have a view of the cosmos
that is more like the view that
the ancient Greeks had—
a view where there is a sharp separation between
the earthly realm and the heavenly realm. . .
a sharp separation between the material world
and the spiritual world.
Well, Jewish thought was different.
For them, heaven and the earth
are two connected—
different dimensions so to speak—
And these two dimensions. . .
the heavenly and the earthly. . .
in a special way in the Temple. . .
in the Holy of Holies—
where God was really present
where the heavenly realm and
the earthly realm came together.
And that’s what happens at Jesus’ Ascension. . .
Jesus doesn’t ascend to some far away play. . .
light-years and light-years away from us. . .
No. . . Jesus ascends to a different dimension. . .
So, so close to us.
And this intermingling of
the heavenly and earthly realms. . .
is especially prominent at the Mass. . .
and at the Eucharist. . .
where our earthly liturgy participates
in the heavenly divine liturgy. . .
And where Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity. . .
in the heavenly dimension. . .
becomes sacramentally. . .
becomes really present
in the Eucharist here today.
And this coming together
of the heavenly realm and the earthly realm
also happens at Pentecost—
where the Holy Spirit descends upon the Church—
another great intermingling of
the dimensions of heaven and earth.
Jesus’ Ascension and the Pentecost
means that Jesus wanted to united Himself
to us a new way. . .
He’s so close. . .
So close we can say—
if we cooperate in this grand plan. . .
We can say like St. Paul,
“It is not I who live,
but Christ who lives in me.”
So when I think of the Ascension. . .
I think of Jesus not ascending to so some faraway place. . .
I think of a different dimension. . .
He’s so close.
And when I think of the Ascension. . .
I think of Dignity.
All the monotheistic faiths. . .
Judaism, Islam, and Christianity
afford great dignity to humanity
because we were created in the
image and likeness of God. . .
But Christianity gives humanity an even
greater dignity because of the Incarnation. . .
The Son of God taking on human nature.
And with the Ascension of Jesus. .
human nature now sits at the right hand of
God in the heavenly. . .
In the divine dimension of reality.
Every human being. . .
Everyone. . .
bar none. . .
has infinite dignity.
Human nature now sits at the right hand of God.
So when I hear Ascension. . .
I think of Dimension. . .
And I think of Dignity. . .
And I think of Destiny.
We heard it in the opening prayer
of today’s Mass:
Gladden us with holy joy,
and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving,
for the Ascension of Christ your Son
is our exaltation,
and where the Head has gone before in glory,
the Body. . .
the body of Christ. . .
that’s us. . .
the Body is called to follow in hope.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ we came from God. . .
we were loved into being. . .
And our destiny is with God.
Fr. Charlie Meyer died on October 15 of this past year. . . (2020)
He was a 100.
When I heard of his death. . .
I imagined his soul lining up just perfectly. . .
and then easily passing into the heavenly dimension. . .
where his full dignity as a human being
is recognized and celebrated with Jesus. . .
and where he experienced
his ultimate destiny
with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Dimension. . . Dignity. . . and Destiny
And I imagined back on that day in the classroom
when I saw Fr. Meyer bump into the blackboard. . .
but this time. . .
this time I heard him say. . .
“Well, I guess today is the day.”
Holy Spirit 05/15-16/2021