Christ Goes up in Glory
Readings: 1st: Acts 1:1-11; Ps: 46; 2nd: Eph 1:17-23; Gos: Lk 24:46-53
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
“All peoples clap your hands, cry to God with shouts of joy…God goes up with shouts of joy, and the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.” On this seventh Sunday of Easter, we celebrate the solemnity of Ascension. It is an important solemnity that marks the return of Jesus to the Father. Together with the Resurrection, it is a manifestation of the victory of Christ.
Ascension is a solemnity that sustains the hope of Christians that, one day, we shall be where Christ is. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “Jesus Christ the head of the Church precedes us into His Father’s glorious kingdom, so that we the members of his body may live in the hope of one day being with him forever.” (665-667).
At times in life, we are too much in a hurry to begin, make an impact, and impress others. For example, young girls want to hook up with someone as quickly as possible without being prepared or mature for a relationship.
Young men want to get rich soon without learning or knowing the principles of success and prosperity. The result is often failure because we are not adequately prepared or mature to take up the next challenge in life. The same thing happens in our spiritual journey. At times, we are in a hurry to begin our spiritual journey without or with very little preparation.
In today’s first reading, Christ warned his disciples: “Remain in Jerusalem until the Father fulfills his promise.” In today’s gospel, the Apostles religiously obeyed this instruction: “They did him homage and returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple praising God.” They were in the temple in Jerusalem waiting for “the yeast” (the Holy Spirit) that will help them mature and age spiritually.
As in wine production, this was necessary to bring out the strength and sweetness in them for their mission. So, like them, we must obey Christ too and allow his Spirit to fill us and open the eyes of our minds as Paul prayed for us today in our second reading: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened.”
Therefore, we must pay attention to what Jesus is telling us in today’s gospel. As an experienced master, Christ knows the terrain we are about to walk. He knows how delicate the hearts of men of our age are. He knows how challenging is our task, and what it takes to be successful. He knows that only the Holy Spirit can help us.
Therefore, Ascension marks the beginning of the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to us. So, as we celebrate the solemnity of Ascension today, Jesus reminds us that irrespective of our knowledge and human capabilities, we need divine help to succeed. This divine help will come from the Holy Spirit to whom we must pay attention all the time.
So, as we celebrate the Ascension of Christ today and expect the fulfillment of His promise on Pentecost Sunday, let us pray: “Sent forth your spirit O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.”
Peace be with you!