The empire that never fades

| Father Nathaniel Meyers | May 8, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ruins, fading empires


As a lifelong Detroit Red Wings fan, I’ve been taking a bit of a hit from Minnesota Wild fans these past couple of years as Hockeytown loses its luster and the State of Hockey looks to be building its future in an encouraging way. I freely admit that I am partially responsible for the snark I receive from Wild fans, since I unabashedly rejoiced in the Red Wings’ glow and gleefully predicted their continuation atop the NHL. In doing this, though, I forgot one of the most important truths of life: Empires will always fade.

It matters not whether the empire is in athletics, business or politics. All worldly kingdoms will come to an end. Sure, Google and Amazon seem to be set to exist for as long as we and our progeny will walk the earth, but then again, didn’t that seem to be the case for such titans as Blockbuster Video and Compaq computers?

While the world can offer us a great many goods, it simply does not have the capacity to offer us eternity. Only an appeal to God can grant us everlasting happiness and life, but the irony is that this embrace of eternity requires us to undergo death — not just the actual passing from this life to the next, but more importantly, a death to attachment to material things.

St. Luke’s account of the Lord’s Ascension shows that the apostles themselves needed to abandon their hopes of a material messianic kingdom. As Christ appears to them and prepares to ascend to the father, the apostles ask if he is now ready to restore Israel’s kingdom. “It is not for you to know the times or season,” the Lord replies, “that the Father has established by his own authority.”

In the Ascension, we are given a clear sign that our hearts should long for the world beyond this one. However, in seeking this kingdom, we are not allowed to become indifferent to the plight of this world. Although the business and politics of this world are destined to pass into history, the people of this world are endowed with immortal souls.

As we meditate on Christ’s Ascension, we should see it as hope that a path to an everlasting kingdom now clearly exists for us. Our task as disciples is not only to walk that path ourselves, but also to make sure others can join us on it.

Like the apostles, we have received the missionary mandate from our Lord to preach the good news. “‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature,’” the Lord says to us in St. Mark’s Gospel. The Ascension gives us confidence to carry out this command, realizing that we carry the news that truly never fades and can never be defeated. Inspired by this confidence, we now seek to serve Christ in the empire that never fades.

Father Meyers is pastor of St. Francis Xavier in Buffalo.

Sunday, May 13
Ascension of the Lord

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Category: Sunday Scriptures