May 28, 2017
God the Father inaugurated His presence among us when Abraham responded to Him in faith. The Nativity of Our Lord inaugurated God the Son’s presence among us when God’s self-expression became flesh and was born among us as one of us. This Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven inaugurates the time of God the Holy Spirit’s presence among us. Jesus Christ ascension into heaven opens the door to the Holy Spirit’s dwelling within those who have been baptized into the Body of Christ.
Our Blessed Lord’s Ascension into heaven challenges us to see God in a new way. Christ’s ascension is not an ending, it’s a beginning. On the surface in appears that Christ’s Ascension is a departure, but actually it is not. Spirit-filled in His resurrection, Christ now comes to us in a new way – in His Holy Spirit. It is a new beginning. Christ in His humanity is now taken to a new status, the highest of all states of being. Now at the right hand of the Father in the fullness of divinity, Christ comes to us in the power of the Holy Spirit — particularly in His Sacraments. He will always be with us, He will never leave us.
The cycle has now come full circle. God has come to us in Christ; God has given Himself to us in Christ; God is now at work among us again, sweeping us up into Christ’s glorious, resurrected, and Spirit-filled humanity. Through Him, with Him, and in Him we are now in Christ’s ascended humanity returned back home to our Father. The scope of this panorama is stupendous, awe-inspiring, and really beyond human comprehension or mortal human words. It is Mystery in the full sense of the word mystery – mystery not in the sense of reading a “Who Done It?” novel, but mystery in the sense that we are gazing into a reality that far exceeds the scope of our ability to depict it or put into words.
To be honest with you, if I were standing in that group of apostles and disciples at Christ’s Ascension I would have been dismayed. I would have been quite intimidated. I would have thought: “Are we to lose Him again?” Timidity would have engulfed my heart and soul. But Pentecost would follow and my timidity would have been erased.
And when He comes we will be enabled to throw off our timidity. We, filled with Christ’s gift of courage, will be able to go out in public and boldly live in the face of whatever challenges life and the people in it throw at us. For Christ Jesus, now at the right hand of our Father, is at work in us bringing order out of chaos, meaning out of absurdity, good out of evil, and life out of death.
The days of Pentecost and all of the days thereafter are at hand. We have a Savior who loves us, a glorious Redeemer who at the right hand of the Father intercedes for us, and the Spirit of God at work in us. By your faith, in your hope, and because of your love, all of the God’s gifts are at work in you, and our world has the promise of being made into a much better place. Because of the Ascension of Christ we are given the task of revealing God’s kingdom here on earth. Christ has established the kingdom. Ours is now, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the task of revealing God’s kingdom in all that we say and do. “Behold,” declares God, “I make all things new.”
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sojan Punakkattu