Memorial Mass for the past Archbishops of the Tokyo Archdiocese
5 June 2011、(Ascension Sunday)
at St. Joseph Tsukiji Church
First Reading: The Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11
Second Reading: Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
Today we are holding this mass in memory of Monsignor Pierre Marie Osouf and for the subsequent Archbishops of Tokyo.
Monsignor Pierre Marie Osouf died on June 27, 1906 and his tomb is located in Aoyama Cemetery, Tokyo.
Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the disciples after his resurrection and during the following forty days. His very presence proclaimed that Jesus of Nazareth, who died on the cross, had truly risen from the dead.
Although just forty days was the period of His appearance on earth after His resurrection, He continues to be with us through His Church as it is stated in today’s Gospel according to Matthew, “I will be with you always, to the end of time.”
Our Lord no longer possesses a mortal form the same as us. He will no longer appear to us in the same way as he appeared to Mary Magdalene and to the disciples on their way to Emmaus.
We often hear of the appearances of Mary our Mother, but not of Our Lord.
In fact, Christ is present in the sacraments and in the Gospel. We see Him in the poor. It is through these means that he comes to live among us and within us. It is through faith that we encounter Our Lord. Until the end of the world, Jesus will be with the people who believe in him.
Jesus is with us to the end of time. How can this be? It became possible when Christ sent the Holy Spirit to us.
Next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. The Holy Spirit works within those who believe in Him through helping them to proclaim that Christ had risen. The numerous wonderful works of the Holy Spirit are clearly recorded in The Acts of the Apostles. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the apostles were able to carry out their works.
When we look back on the history of the Church, we can see there were times when the working of the Holy Spirit was apparent and times when it was not so. There were times when the Church shone brightly as the symbol of the resurrected glory of Christ. But there were also times when darkness seemed to prevail and only a glimpse of fading light was left.
Our Lord’s Ascension into heaven signifies Christ’s permanent parting; never again to appear on earth as a mortal.
On the other hand, by sending the Holy Spirit, Christ promised us that in union with the Holy Spirit, He will lead, guide and support us.
Even a few of the people who witnessed Christ’s resurrection doubted as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, “ some of them doubted”. Faith is essential. On this feast day of the Ascension of our Lord, we are asked to be true to our faith.
Three months have now passed since the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. And we are called to renew our faith and hope.
In today’s opening prayer, we recited:
Almighty God our Father, through Jesus your only Son’s suffering
and death, you glorified Him and opened to us a new heaven and
a new earth. In His Ascension, we see our future. United with Christ, guide and lead us to your everlasting life.
We are all called to enter into this new heaven and new earth where God’s creation will be complete as written in The Revelation of John 21:1, The Second Letter of Peter 3:13 and The Book of Isaiah 65:17, 66:22.
Let us proceed together to this new heaven and new earth in hope. And let us pray to the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday for His abundant gifts, especially, for wisdom and courage when we are confronted with hardship in carrying out God’s will.