The Church celebrates the Ascension today, the day we remember Jesus going back to Heaven to dwell with His Father. I have mixed feelings about this celebration. On one hand it is fitting that Jesus return to Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. This is His rightful place. He has accomplished His mission on earth; our salvation.
On the other hand I would love to have a physical encounter with Jesus like the early members of the Church. Who wouldn’t love to sit at His feet and listen to Him teach about the Kingdom of Heaven? I would love to have an encounter like the disciples who were on the road to Emmaus and listen to Jesus explain the scriptures, share a meal with Him, bring family and friends to Him.
We can only imagine what the Apostles felt when Jesus ascended to Heaven. I believe they were likely frightened of what would happen next. Like anyone who has lost a loved one, they probably felt a deep void in their lives now that He was in Heaven. Jesus instructs them to; “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” I think this must have been very difficult for the Apostles, not really knowing how to proceed. I need more direction, more detailed instructions, a game-plan, in order to feel comfortable about beginning a task I have never tried. I’ll bet the Apostles felt the same.
Yet, Jesus did provide the Apostles with everything they needed to start the Church. He sent the Holy Spirit to them! The Holy Spirit empowered them to understand what God wanted of them, gave them the courage to face the difficulties ahead, and the perseverance to keep spreading the message of God’s love. We’ll celebrate Pentecost next weekend, considered the birthday of the Church, but today focus on this special day when Jesus returned to Heaven.
One day, we pray, we will abide with Jesus in His Heavenly Kingdom. Until then live a holy life, a life full of God’s blessings, and dream of the Heavenly Kingdom.