Absence as Presence

Easter Sunday 7, Year B - Ascension

Embracing the Mystery: Celebrating the Feast of the Ascension

Today I want to share with you a reflection on one of the pivotal moments in the Christian calendar – the Feast of the Ascension. This feast day, which commemorates the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, often stirs a mix of emotions and thoughts within our community. It’s a day that holds great significance, yet it can also be shrouded in mystery and confusion.

Understanding the Ascension:
The Ascension is not merely a historical event but a cornerstone of our faith. It marks the moment when Jesus completed His earthly mission and was exalted to sit at the right hand of the Father. This event is pivotal as it signifies the glorification of Jesus and the promise of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to continue Christ’s mission on earth.

Personal Reflections on the Feast Day:
In my years of service, I’ve observed a range of reactions to the Ascension. Some parishioners express a sense of loss, akin to the disciples who watched Jesus ascend. Others grapple with the theological implications of the event. As a priest, I’ve also encountered practical challenges, such as the shifting of the feast day to the nearest Sunday, which can lead to confusion and a dilution of the feast’s significance.

The Presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit:
Despite Jesus’ physical departure, the Ascension does not leave us leaderless or powerless. On the contrary, it marks the beginning of a new chapter where Jesus is present in a more profound way. Through the Holy Spirit, we are guided, strengthened, and united as the Body of Christ. The Spirit’s presence in our lives is a constant source of renewal and inspiration, enabling us to live out our faith with courage and conviction.

Main Lessons and Insights:
The Feast of the Ascension teaches us about the enduring presence of Jesus in our lives. It reminds us that while we may not understand all the mysteries of our faith, we are called to trust in God’s plan. The Ascension also challenges us to be witnesses of Jesus’ love and to spread the Good News to all corners of the earth, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

As we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, let us embrace the mystery and joy of our faith. Let us reflect on the ways Jesus continues to be present in our lives and in the life of the Church. And let us open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, who guides us in our journey of faith. May this feast day renew our commitment to live out the Gospel and to be bearers of Christ’s light in the world.

Thank you for joining me in this reflection. May the peace and grace of the Ascension be with you all.

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