Just sharing my simple reflection for Sunday (or Thursday, for some), as we recall the words of Prophet Isaiah, exactly 40 days after Easter Sunday, commemorating the Ascension of our Lord, Jesus Christ into heaven.
The Feast of the Ascension completes and adds meaning to the Resurrection, ending the 40 days of Lent; the number 40, perhaps being symbolic of a time for ‘preparation’ or ‘purification’ – to make a spiritual difference in our lives...in our journey. On Ascension, Jesus returned to the right hand of God the Father.
“He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3, NAB)
“So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19, NAB)
“As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.” (Luke 24:51-53, NAB)
““…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” (Acts 1:8-9, NAB)
As I quietly reflect on the significance of this event, in relation to my own journey through life, I cannot help but harbour a sense of hope that one day too, we ourselves will also arrive at this same destination; our home…being in the company of the Blessed Trinity and all the holy angels and saints.
This is the hope that will sustain us in our moments of sadness, emptiness, loneliness...even hopeless-ness...be it in times of sickness, terminal illness, unemployment, financial difficulties, troubles in marriage, romance, love, spiritual indecisiveness or simply a life where God remains, seemingly, absent.
We know that our journey is, more often than not, filled with obstacles, seductions and temptations, coupled with our own human condition. Only with Jesus, as our faithful and trusted companion, can we overcome and be sustained with enough courage and spiritual nourishment to continue our journey home (easier said than done, sometimes).
Like the disciples, I too, have much that I still do not understand as my faith is sometimes weak. Like the disciples, I await the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit…to descent upon my life and make me whole, to awaken me, to enlighten me, to give me courage to be a brave witness of the Risen Lord…to enter into a closer relationshipwith God the Father.
St Augustine reminds us that, “Whoever does not have the (Catholic) church as Mother, will not have God as Father.”
“Through the (Catholic) church, we have the Scriptures and their authentic explanation; the sacraments, all seven of God’s channels of grace, willed by Jesus to help us on our way to heaven; and the examples of lived holiness — such as John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Padre Pio, Thérèse of Lisieux, and many, many others.” – Father John A Leies, SM, STD
In solidarity with the whole universal church, we wait eagerly and prayerfully to celebrate the 2,000+ years Birthday of the Church…this coming weekend…Pentecost Sunday…the Feast of the Holy Spirit…also a springtime for a new evangelization in our own spirits!
The Holy Spirit has, for more than 2,000 years, defended and protected the Catholic Church, from fierce enemies of the Church, both within and without, that have always tried to destroy it, time and again…but always failed.
As the Jesuits would term it...to the greater glory of God...Ad majorem Dei gloriam!