To Christians living in the 21st century, it might seem surprising that the Apostles still did not fully understand Jesus or God’s plan when Jesus ascended into Heaven. After all that Jesus had explained to them even after His resurrection, they still asked “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?”
While it might be tempting to blame the Apostles for being slow to understand, we must remember that these men had only their first-hand experience to inform and guide them. They did not have—as we do—the gift of the deposit of the faith as it has been expounded on over the course of two thousand years. So, the Apostles’ purely human thinking that God would restore Israel in human terms of power should not surprise us. In fact, the Apostles’ question can prompt us to look back at ourselves and ask: “How many times in my life do I approach God expecting that He behave according to my purely human thinking?”
With the perspective of time, we know now that Jesus had to ascend to the right hand of God the Father so that the Holy Spirit could come to fill the Apostles and enlighten them at Pentecost; only then would the Apostles fully comprehend the purpose and mystery of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as well as the aim of every Christian life: to know and be united with God. This knowledge of and union with the Holy Trinity in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven come about by our being transformed by the graces that we receive through the Holy Spirit in the sacraments and by leading lives of faith in God’s teachings, hope in His promises, and charity toward God and our neighbor.
Yours in Christ,
Readings for The Ascension of the Lord: Lectionary 58Tags: #arthurmarat, #ascension, #fatherarthurmarat, #frarthurmarat, #olw, #olwparish, #reflection