First Reading: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm: 47. R. v. 6; Second Reading: Eph 1:17-23; Gospel: Jn 28:16-20.
LET US PREPARE TO MEET HIM
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” (Jn 28:20)
Today is the solemnity of the ascension of the Lord. As Jesus prepares to return to his Father, his disciples were troubled. Although they were not left desolate as Jesus disappeared into the clouds; but they felt so. We read from the first reading how they stood gazing into the heavens as the cloud took Jesus out of their sight. They were completely bewildered by the reality of Jesus’ departure that they wished this was not happening. They remained fixated in disappointment till the angels berated them to courageously move on because this same Jesus that they saw taken up into the heaven, will return back to them in the same way.
This was what Jesus meant when he said to them in today’s gospel, “A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me.” Although Jesus was going away physically but he shall return in a short while to remain with them forever through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. So, they may be sorrowful now as they see him depart, but their sorrow will turn into joy because his ever presence in them through the Holy Spirit will reinvigorate them to become joyful witnesses of the gospel even in their moments of persecution.
The joy of the ascension story is that Jesus returned to his Father to open the gates of heaven to us. And to ensure that we follow where he had gone to, he gave us the Holy Spirit to inspire and teach us to keep his gospel by words and example. The berating words of the angels to the disciples as they watched Jesus taken up into the sky is very instructive: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the heaven?” This was an indirect way of telling the disciples to go about witnessing to the message they learnt from their master than standing there and gazing in futility. Likewise, we are called today to go about witnessing to Jesus through our lives; so that where Christ our head had gone, we the body will also follow.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace to courageously follow your teachings. Amen.