[Just returned from a trip with family. Back now and back to the blog. Happy Ascensiontide!]
Once upon a time, Bill Gates dies and goes to Heaven. Saint Peter shows him to his house, a small cottage on a tiny plot in the woods. The kitchen is stocked with the basic needs. Bill slowly settles into a modest and a quiet life in heaven. One day, Bill walks into one of Heaven’s many fine parks, when he runs into a man dressed in a fine tailored suit. “That is a nice suit, my friend,” says Gates. “Where did you get it?” “Actually,” the man replies, “I was given a hundred of these when I got here. They treat me really well. I own a mansion on a hill overlooking a beautiful lake. I have a huge five-hundred acre estate, a golf course, tennis courts and three Rolls Royces.” “Are you the Pope, or someone important?” asks Gates. “No,” says his new friend, “I’m the captain of the Titanic.” Hearing this made Gates so angry that he immediately stalks off to find St. Peter. Cornering St. Peter, Bill tells him about the man he meets, saying, “How could you give me a paltry new house, while you shower new cars, a mansion, and fine suits on the Captain of the Titanic? I invented the Windows operating system! I deserve better!” “Well, Bill we use Windows here in heaven,” replied St. Peter, “but the Titanic only crashed once.”
Brothers and sisters, we are heaven bound. But we need to clean up our operating system.
Learn a lesson from the angels. The disciples meet Jesus in Galilee. They want the kingdom restored. Instead, Jesus tells them to be his witnesses all over the world. And when he ascends to heaven right before their eyes they just stand there and gawk at the sky. Again to help them get going (just like at the empty tomb) two men dressed in white garments appear. “What are you gawking up at the sky?” Get moving. Go and witness. Go and be a disciple.
St. Paul says that God gives us the same grace and power given to Jesus at the Resurrection. The problem is our operating system. People need to hear the Gospel. The world needs Jesus but many times we are off on our own gawking. The word means to stare like a clumsy person who does not know what to do. But we know what to do- we are Christians. When we preach Christ heaven begins. When we stop fighting, heaven begins. When we reconcile, heaven begins. When we stand up for someone, when we pray with someone, when we bless and not curse someone, heaven begins.
Heaven always begins at the Eucharist. Here we come frail and human as we are and the Ascended Christ welcomes us. Here God teaches us how to fix our operating system and how to begin heaven now.