"God is always more." Have you ever heard that? If we truly believe that He is infinite, then this statement is worth exploring. Today, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in power upon the early Church. But Pentecost wasn't the first time the disciples received the Holy Spirit. The Gospel actually occurs chronologically before Pentecost. Soon after the Resurrection, Jesus already "came and stood in their [the disciples'] midst... he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'"READ MORE
What is the most common image you've seen of the Ascension? It's typically Jesus hovering above the earth surrounded by brilliant light. The Ascension is a beautiful feast, but it's about more than the distant glory of God. It's about the blessing of God and the transformative power of trust.
"You are witnesses to these things." Before he ascends, Jesus reminds the disciples of the basic message of the Gospel and of the disciples' own important role. They are to proclaim the Gospel message by their personal witness to the saving power of God. "I am sending the promise of my Father upon you...clothed with power from on high." Jesus promises to equip the disciples for this important mission. Not only are they receiving a command, but they're receiving the empowerment they need to move. "He...raised his hands and blessed them." Even now, though the fulfillment of Pentecost is still to come, Jesus gives them a parting gift before he ascends into heaven. Finally, "They...returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God."READ MORE
Ascension Sunday (Lk. 24: 46-53)
“He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.” Lk. 24: 51
Jesus after fulfilling His mission, in the presence of His Disciples ascended into heaven. The Ascension signaled the culmination of His salvific mission. Jesus the High Priest blessed His disciples and entered the place of the Father with His human nature receiving the glory it deserved. At the same time lifting human nature to share the glory of God the Father in Him. The Lord’s Ascension lifted the troubled spirit of the disciples, finally, they are filled with great Joy. There is great joy when our human nature is elevated up into heaven, raised above all the heavenly beings, higher than Archangels, raised to the height that human mind can’t even imagine to fathom, until the Son was received by the Father, and led to the chamber of glories sharing the divine nature of the Godhead, as His only begotten Son. (St. Leo the Great, Sermo I de ascensione Domini, 4)READ MORE
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” Peter is a favorite apostle for many people. I wonder if it is because of his flawed, relatable humanity. Today's Gospel takes place after Jesus appears to the disciples and breathes the Holy Spirit upon them. And yet, Peter finds himself returning to his old way of life, to comfortable habits he formed long before following Jesus. Is something still lingering in him? Is something still lingering in us? Lent is over, and we should be rejoicing! But do you feel like you're still holding onto something? Or perhaps you had an excellent Lent. You encountered Jesus in a new way and grew in faith. But as the weeks since Easter have slipped by, some of your newfound devotion has begun to waver. The closeness you felt in your Lenten commitments has given way to humdrum status quo or turn-of-the-season busyness.READ MORE
Now let's get back to Easter. Our Gospel today ends with an empty tomb and the disciples believing that Jesus' body had been removed.
"For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead."
We have the benefit of 2,000+ years of revelation and we know that His body wasn't removed, it was resurrected.READ MORE