Reflections

Ascension of the Lord: May 24, 2020

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN (Acts 1:1-11)

We have many ways of saying goodbye. “So long.” “See you later.” “Take care.”

Goodbyes are softened with the promise of another meeting. “Till we meet again.” The time between the goodbye and the reunion is filled with joyful hope and anxious waiting.

Surely the disciples wondered if they had the tools they needed to survive that time. Jesus had been their leader, visionary, messiah, and friend. Without him, life would lose its center.

Jesus’ goodbye came with two promises. He promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the disciples in his absence, and he promised that he would come again. That left them in an in-between kind of time. After the goodbye, they waited for his coming again.

In fact, that is where we are too. We are in between the visits of Jesus, a time of hope and anxiety. We often wonder if we have the tools we need to survive. We need vision and companionship on life’s long road.

We have at our disposal the first promise of Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit. That Spirit will guide us through times of loneliness, into good decisions, amid the sorrows of sad goodbyes. The Spirit is our center.

POWER SOURCE (Ephesians 1:17–23)

Nations build up their power through politics, weapons and wealth. Strong leaders can unite their people to promote a cause. Mighty arsenals can overcome enemies. Money can buy influence and technology. Nations feel secure when they hold power.

As citizens, we sometimes take false hope in the security of our nation. It is nearly impossible to guard against every attack, to control every enemy, and to protect our national treasures. It is tempting to rely on the standards of national power: politics, weapons, and wealth.

The Letter to the Ephesians takes another view of power. It assumes that all power belongs to God, not to people, and that God has assigned authority to Christ, “raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens.” God put all things beneath the feet of Christ “and gave him as head over all things.”

But Jesus is no politician. He owns no weapons. He possesses no earthly wealth. His dominion differs from that of temporal rulers. Believers of every nation put their trust in Christ. They follow his teachings. Most important, they believe he is the victor over death. Jesus has conquered death, the enemy of every human. With Jesus as our head, we enjoy unparalleled freedom and release from all our fears.

Those who follow Christ put their trust in other forms of power—perfect love of God and neighbor.

Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year A © 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.