Gospel of Luke 24:46-53
Forty days after the Resurrection we celebrate the feast of the Ascension. We can think of the Ascension as a sad occasion for the early disciples, as they are losing a loved one. After all he had been their charismatic leader, with an interesting message, and somehow it all seemed to go wrong with his death. His death was followed by the complexities of the Resurrection and the days that followed this event. The disciples could be forgiven for not knowing what was happening. Yet in it all they stayed with Jesus and learned from Him.
Today’s Gospel presents another aspect on being a disciple. It is almost as if the Ascension is a bridge between what has happened and what will happen. The time is approaching for the disciples to become witnesses to the death and Resurrection of the Messiah, and to go and proclaim the Good News to the whole world. They are told to wait – the time is not quite right to begin this mission. They are encouraged to spend time giving praise for all that has already happened and wait for the gift of the Spirit.
We are also encouraged to wait in hope for the coming of the Spirit. Jesus asked the early disciples to stay in the city until they were clothed with the power of the Spirit from on high. In today’s world life is lived at a very fast pace and somehow, we often find it hard to wait, and simply be in the presence of God – we tend to look at the light ‘over there’ and want it to be here, but the light moves in its own time.
One of the challenges that arises from the Gospel today is how we are witnesses to all that has happened, by the grace of God, in our own lives. Each day, do we go out to fulfil our baptismal calling with joy? Or do we tend to hold back and be slow to participate in the mission to preach the Good News, wherever we are called or indeed sent? Whenever we are discouraged or afraid we need to remember that we also have been blessed with the gift of the Spirit in our lives.
Maybe this week, as we look to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, we can reflect on where we need the wisdom, to wait, in our own lives. A time of waiting can be a challenge. We often prefer to be active and doing, yet it is in the waiting, the silence, that we become aware of God’s immense love and God’s plan for us. Then we can go forward in hope to spread the Good News.
We give thanks for the times we have listened, and had the courage to go out and preach the Good News. We also pray for the situations in our world where we need to listen and really hear what the Spirit is saying. Let us take time this week to stop, to listen, and prepare to take direction from the Spirit who empowers us all to live and love like Jesus.
We always have the guiding light of God beckoning us forward.
Sr. Miriam Weir OP