Today we celebrate Jesus’ return to His rightful place in glory at the right hand of God the Father. While His return into heaven marks the completion of His earthly life and ministry, it marks also the beginning of things to come. First, that Jesus goes before His disciples to prepare a place for them. Secondly, that His departure allowed the promised Holy Spirit to descend. Jesus’ ascension, in essence inaugurates a season a preparation.
Jesus states that He goes to prepare a place for His disciples, which includes all who place their faith in Him, until He returns at His Second Coming to gather them all to Himself. Have you ever dwelt upon that fact? He is not removed from us, but is at work. Jesus is transforming us, and all of creation, as a dwelling place with Him forever. He is bringing that work about daily. As we grow in His likeness, and as He restores all around us, we are moving ever closer to that Day. Yet, in His mercy He allows for us to bring others along into that process so that more and more may find a place prepared for them as they, too, are enrolled as followers of Jesus.
The process of sanctification, growing in holiness, and enrolling others, or making disciples, is something we do not do in our own strength or resources. Rather, it is done in and through us as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, who resides in us through baptism and turning to faith in Jesus. Jesus’ departure also marked a season of preparation for the disciples as in following days they were instructed to wait for the promised Holy Spirit who would descend upon the them enabling them to teach and do all that Jesus instructed.
In celebration of Ascension you may want to enter into this this major event in the Church Year by doing something special. Perhaps you could do a family activity akin to what we did on Sunday, flying a kite, going to get wings, or something that may bring the reality of this moment home. In addition to the celebration, we too are called to prepare ourselves daily.
Find ways to prepare your heart for Pentecost. Carving out more time with the Lord, dedicating yourself anew to serve Him and increasing your commitment to give your best to the Lord in worship. Ask the Lord for avenues to reach out to others and explore opportunities to serve at Saint Barnabas. Every day His return is closer and we are called to be ready. May we present ourselves, as we pray weekly in the Eucharistic prayer, as a living sacrifice to Jesus in the ways we order our days, offer our time, and give of our resources to the advancement of the Kingdom.