for Sunday, May 16, 2010
When we celebrate Ascension on a Thursday, we celebrate it forty days after
Easter and ten days before Pentecost. When we celebrate Ascension on
Sunday we celebrate it forty - three days after Easter and a week before
Pentecost. The first arrangement is the kind of timing that we find in the
Scriptures but the second allows us to celebrate Pentecost as the Octave of
the Ascension. For pastoral reasons, many diocese and countries now
celebrate Ascension on the Sunday before Pentecost.
These two mysteries, Ascension and Pentecost, are intimately linked.
Jesus tells us that He must go away so that the Father will send the
Spirit. Jesus tells us that He will still be with us, but no longer in the
same way. It is important for us to recognize that the Lord Jesus is
always with us in His Church, especially when we see the broken and sinful
aspects of ourselves, who make up the Church. Even though we are Church,
we are not THE Church.
How important it is for us in these days of shame and accusation to
recognize the God is the heart and soul of the Church. How often it can
look to outsiders and if there is no God in our Church or that God has
abandoned His Church. Yet for us who believe, there is a deep awareness
that God purifies His Church in many ways, that the Church goes on in spite
of the sinfulness and abuse that we see and experience.
We can all look at the history of the Church and see so many times when it
looks as though everyone in the Church is turning away from God, when
sinfulness seems more common that grace and virtue, when the Lord ascends
and leaves us alone and feeling abandoned.
Just as we sometimes feel abandoned and alone personally, so also there
are times when the Church seems abandoned and desolate. In these dark
nights, we are invited to believe and to trust that God's salvation is
still with us, that the Father is still giving us the Son and the Spirit
and that we ourselves are love by this divine God and that all shall be
We wait for the power of the Spirit, as in the first reading from the Acts
of the Apostles. We wait for the eyes of our hearts to be enlightened as
in the second reading from the Letter to the Ephesians. We wait to be
clothed with power from on high as in today's Gospel from Saint Luke. We
have received all of these gifts and yet we still wait for their
fulfillment in our lives. May this time of waiting between Ascension and
Pentecost fill us with joy and complete trust in our God, who loves us
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: