Ascension of the Lord
May 24, 2020
Sr. Phyllis Jaszkowiak
We are in a transitional time. Some long for what is past, is lost, some look to newness in the future. And here we are stuck in the present.
This is what the disciples were feeling. They ask, in the 1st reading: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” A “longing for the past” question. Jesus didn’t really answer their question, but said, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that our God has established, by God’s own authority. But 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.” A “looking to newness in the future”, answer.
The disciples though are still stuck in the present. So when Jesus ascended and left they are not quite sure what to do. So they continue to meet as a community and pray together.
In the Gospel Jesus is a tad bit clearer: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
So the disciples go back, to be with the community, to pray, and to ponder it all.
It is somewhat like our situation today with the coronavirus crisis. With physical distancing, the shutdown of the economy, the differing messages from the President day to day, our State Leaders taking the slow healing way to open up, and our Church feeling its way into the newness of life, we are stuck here in the present. So we gather, digitally, as a community to pray and to see what comes next.
We don’t know what will come, and we need to heed Jesus’ call that we will receive power when the Spirit comes. It is then, by listening to what the Spirit tells us, we can move forward.
One way of listening to the Spirit is taking stock of what has happened so far. With less traffic and less factory output our air is cleaner. Although we take care to be physically distant we are more aware of others. We are more aware of those more fragile and more vulnerable than we are and find ways to help, like our calling crew who call those isolated and fragile, our fund to help those who need extra money for rent or food, and Our St. Vincent De Paul volunteers who deliver food to those in need.
These things have made us more a community. We discover that we are all one and there are no barriers - except in our heads. So Jesus leaves us physically but says, “And behold, I am with you always.” Jesus is here among us in ways that enliven us, console us, urge us to action on behalf of others.
It is that promise that can help us move forward rather than just go back to our old ways. So as we listen to and move with the Spirit, let us move into the newness that the Spirit brings. And always remember Jesus’ words to us: “And behold, I am with you always.”
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