“He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.” So goes the line in the Apostles Creed. Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Gospel: Lk. 24: 46-53), wherein Holy Mother Church commemorates the Ascension of Jesus Christ. Before going up into Heaven, Jesus told the disciples,
“…repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
At this time, the disciples have already experienced so much confusion in their lives. They followed the Lord upon His calling, experiencing joys and happiness and were witnesses to the countless miracles in their missionary journeys. They were devastated when He was separated from them through His Passion and Death; felt triumphant in His Resurrection, and then He again leaves them? Remember in last Sunday’s Gospel (Jn. 14: 23-29), He was telling them that,
“I am going away and I will come back to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.”
It is necessary for Jesus to go to the Father so He can send them the Holy Spirit. Thus, even if Jesus is physically away, through the Holy Spirit, He is continually present. The Ascension is a transition phase in the perfect plan of salvation. With His continuing presence, and with the ups and downs of life, He is always an inspiring presence through the power of the Holy Spirit. The disciples will now have to pursue preaching the Good News of salvation (which they did). As faithful disciples, they gave up their futures and their lives for the Lord. They’ve travelled into a lot of places and preached the Gospel becoming witnesses to the Savior.
How about you, are you experiencing ups and downs in your life now? The message this Sunday is for you to completely trust in the Lord, no matter the situation you’re in. These phases of twists and happenings show something new, something different that you just have to reflect and marvel in awe of how God is taking you through these challenging events in your life.
A friend is having difficulties in choosing which job offer to accept, especially that there are contrasts and differences in the compensation and benefits. I advised her that the more pleasant job environment may not always offer the most attractive compensation package. Thus, her choice should be guided by wisdom and discernment. In the same token, when you are confronted with choices whether these be related to work, business or career, you just have to seek wisdom and discernment from the Lord through His Holy Spirit.
Today, as we work in our missions, we are being assured of the Holy Spirit’s continuing presence. It means that even if we can’t see Him physically, His Spirit lives on and on to guide us through. Amidst the challenges and difficulties, we can only trust in His plans and marvel at the unfolding events that show His dominion over our lives and the rest of Creation.
Let us pray then for the strength to overcome difficulties and weariness. May He continue to refresh and inspire us. May we recognize His presence in the lives of people we meet. And may other people recognize Christ in us.
“Go and teach all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mt. 28: 19a, 20b)