SOLEMNITY OF ASCENSION, 21st of May, 2020.
Acts 1:1-11, psalm 47:2-3:6-7.8-9, Eph 1:17-23, Matthew 28:19a-20b
The Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven forty days after his resurrection. He made different appearances to his disciples before he was taken into heaven. However, it was a pity that his disciples still found it difficult to understand what he meant by the kingdom of God. “When they come together, they asked him, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”[John 1:6] They thought they were dealing with a master who had come to establish a kingdom of power here on earth. They did not know that his kingdom is the kingdom of love, and that his kingdom is not of this world. As he goes to prepare a place for them, he equally promised them the Holy Spirit who will help them to bear effective witness and win more souls into the kingdom.
However, it was necessary that Jesus left them so that the Holy Spirit would come. One may ask whether the Holy Spirit has not been with the disciples by the virtue of their baptism or their shared life with Christ. The Holy Spirit has always been there with them. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit. The Blessed Trinity has always been one. Jesus had always worked under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. There are timely dimensions of our experience of God. God the Father, the Creator sent the Son into the world. Having experienced the Son, who gives the gift of salvation and who visibly revealed the Father, we still need to the experience the Holy Spirit through a special encounter and infilling which enables us to bear witness to the gospel of Christ love. Jesus remains the mediator with the Father and in his name; the Father will send the Paraclete, who leads us into all truth.
There is no effective witness without the infilling of the Holy Spirit. A witness is one who has firsthand experience. He has proofs to show for what he bears witness to. It is not just what he heard or what he was told. If we have evidence of Spirit infilling, we cannot bear true witness to Jesus.
Moreover, the going of Jesus creates an atmosphere of waiting. “And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father.”[John 1:4]The Pentecost encounter is worth waiting for. It is an avenue of empowerment. The special encounter is that which initiate a new dimension into our witnessing. It helps s to show the love of God. It helps us to face our life challenges and it helps to do exploit for the kingdom of God.
Dear beloved, as we prepare for Pentecost, may our hearts be open and may our lives be fertile for the empowerment that the Holy Spirit gives. May the Lord continuous presence increases our faith and makes us true heralds of the gospel.