This past weekend we celebrated the Ascension of Jesus, and this coming Sunday we will celebrate the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
In the Gospel for this past Sunday Jesus is taken up to his Father in heaven. Be careful not to read the Ascension along essentially Enlightenment lines. Enlightenment thinkers (think French Revolution emancipating man from God) introduced a two-tier understanding of heaven and earth. They held that God exists, but that he lives in a distant realm called heaven, where he looks at the humanity moving along, pretty much on its own steam, here on earth (Think of a watch maker who creates the watch and then just leaves it to run).
On this Enlightenment reading, the Ascension means that Jesus goes up, up, and away, off to a distant and irrelevant place just merely looking down, but not engaging much with our affairs.
It is important to remember – at the Ascension – Jesus speaks of sending the Holy Spirit, which is a game changer. Jesus has not gone up, up, and away, but rather—by the gift of the Holy Spirit—becomes a more intimate and powerful presence in each soul of each person that freely receives and accepts this Divine Presence and guide.
This is the power of the Ascension and Pentecost. The sending of the Holy Spirit makes present in “each soul of the Baptized” – The Kingdom – The Presence – The activity and vibrant life of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.
At the Ascension, for all who believe, Jesus desires to raise our humanity in His Divinity, as He opens the gates of Heaven. And Pentecost is a reminder that our Lord is working daily within each believer who freely invites the Holy Spirit to renew and restore and inform us of the beauty and truth of our bodies and temples.
Each day ask the Holy Spirit…”For an increase in the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity (Love).
Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever…Fr. Vic