Ascension Thursday, May 5, 2005 The “Neil Armstong” homily.

Note: It was also National Holocaust Remembrance Day that same day.

Homily — Ascension Thursday MMV

First Footprint on the Moon

On July 20, 1969, American Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

His famous words (usually misquoted) which crackled back across the radio waves to us were “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

As great as that achievement was, today we gather to celebrate an achievement infinitely greater in magnitude and significance for the human race.

Because today, Christ becomes the first man to walk not in outer space, but to walk outside of space, outside of time.

Somewhere on the moon there can still be seen that first lunar footprint Neil Armstrong made, right beside the American Flag. And somewhere in Heaven there can be still seen that first footprint our Risen Lord made, a footprint with a hole in the middle of it where the nail had been.

And as Jesus penetrated the veil between this universe and eternity and made that first footprint on the eternal soil of Heaven, Jesus could have very well said “that’s one small step for the Son of Man, one giant leap for mankind.”

For Jesus by His Ascension has enabled the human race to ascend there with Him.

And this is the real giant leap for mankind — the leap from a fallen world to a redeemed world, the leap from chaos to order, from hatred to love, from war to true peace.

And when mankind doesn’t recognize how great the steps were Christ took by His death, resurrection and ascension, then every other step humanity takes will ultimately be a step backwards.

Let’s look again at Neil Armstrong’s step. It was a giant technological leap for mankind — mankind’s entrance into the space age.

But we no matter what “age” we live in — the space age, the stone age, the middle ages — unless we realize that Jesus is with us until the end of the ages our technological advances will not benefit us.

It is very easy to fall into the illusion that science and technology alone will make us more civilized and peaceable people.

We have the witness of the past 20th Century to prove that theory wrong: the century that saw the advent of electric power, of automobiles, of airplanes and of computers also happened to be the most barbaric of centuries which produced the concentration camp, the gulag, the genocides of Bosnia and Rwanda, abortion and various weapons of mass destruction.

Our nation in a special way today (May 5, 2005) remembers and prays for the 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews who perished in the Holocaust 60 years ago, who were exterminated by the Nazis, who rose to power in a democratic, Christian country.

Perhaps in the last century our western culture got so preoccupied with all the new inventions and advances in knowledge that we took our eyes off of the most important thing to know — God.

My brothers and sisters, this century we live in doesn’t have to be a repeat of the past century. May we never again de-scend into the hell of war and racial genocide, the hell of rich and powerful exploiting poor and vulnerable human beings, the hell of good people standing back and doing nothing.

May we rather a-scend with Christ to build a world of peace, brotherly love among races, asking for and accepting forgiveness of past wrongs, respecting the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death, being conscientious of the injustices around us.

Our new Pope Benedict XVI wrote a few years back that the kingdom of God is only built one soul at a time. Landing on the moon or even Mars won’t put an end to future Holocausts, but you and I each picking up our Crosses and taking that first small step onto the straight and narrow road will.

May the hope of Christ’s Ascension give us all the grace to take that small step of faith, that peace may spread in giant leaps and bounds for all mankind.

Comments are closed.