Seventh Sunday of Easter
Solemnity of the Ascension
From the Pastor’s Desk
May 21, 2023
“In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.”
Brothers and Sisters,
Are you a lover of God?
The evangelist Luke addresses his Gospel account and the second work, Acts of the Apostles, to Theophilus in today’s Gospel. Theophilus’ name, Greek in origin, means “lover of God.” How good to know that God created us to love. Genuine love is powerful, especially that we receive from our heavenly Father. As those created in God’s image and likeness, it makes complete sense that our fulfillment rests in loving as our God does. Love encourages us, heals us, and has the power to propel us forward to do the hard things in life. Inspired by this love, Luke aims to explain the immense depths of redemption and sanctification our Creator offers His creation.
On this celebration of the Ascension of Jesus, put yourself in the shoes of the apostles and disciples. You’ve experienced three incredible years listening to the teachings of Jesus. You’ve seen His signs and miracles, which promise a different kind of living. Still, seeing him suffer so intensely when He died on the cross stretched you, but you were quickly relieved by the news of His Resurrection and eventual encounter with the risen Jesus! But now, as you witness Jesus’ ascension into heaven, you have mixed emotions; you’re excited by the promise of the Holy Spirit, but the thought of your Lord departing overwhelms you.
As modern disciples, we can relate to having felt similar highs and lows, struggles and celebrations on our faith journeys. Perhaps initially, we come to know Jesus by learning about his teachings in the Bible, and occasionally, we glimpse God intervening in our life. Our relationship with Christ may have begun through a share in His suffering because of struggles in our lives. Or at other times, because we have experienced the miraculous, like the birth or adoption of a child or witnessing a loved one who has been sick become well again. As with the early Church, Jesus needs us to serve as His witnesses, helping to spread the faith. And remember, as we share our love of the Lord, there will be those we encounter (with love) who are unable to accept the truth of God’s love for them or who, through attachments and distractions, cannot give their whole heart, mind, and soul to the Lord yet.
What are we to do? Jesus’ farewell included the promise of another Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Join us in the Pentecost Novena as our parish community implores the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit. Join us each evening in the Church at 7 pm and next Saturday with our culmination at the Extended Pentecost Vigil, led by Bishop Bruce Lewandowski. Let us ask the Spirit to guide our Church with the love of God in our hearts!