ASCENSION OF THE LORD SUNDAY – MOTHER’S DAY
H appy Mother’s Day! Today we honor our mothers and pray for them living and deceased. I believe we all know that the airport is a busy place. There are always people rushing here and there and going everywhere. However, the airport can be a rather emotional place too. Especially at the arrival gate, there is usually the excitement and the joy of meeting someone coming home or welcoming a visitor from abroad. On the other hand, at the departure gate, which is on another level, seems more sober and solemn. People are waving goodbye with sentimental faces. Others may be giving each other a long handshake or a hug as they bid farewell. Some have tears in their eyes, while others just have expressionless faces.
To say it all, saying goodbye and bidding farewell can be an emotional affair. Indeed, we don’t have to go to the airport to know what the feeling is like. In the Gospel reading today, we can understand how the disciples felt. As we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord into heaven, it will be the last time the disciples will see Jesus on earth. Jesus had been with them from the time He began His ministry, to His suffering and death and resurrection. He had been with them in their joys and hopes, in their grief and sorrows, in their amazement and disappointment. Just when they have begun to understand who Jesus is to them, and how much they needed Him, Jesus seemed to bid them farewell for good. However, the meaning of the Ascension is not about saying goodbye and bidding farewell. Indeed, Jesus raised His hand and it was not to wave goodbye to His disciple but He lifted His hand to bless them.
The Ascension of the Lord is not about Jesus going up to heaven and leaving His disciples with an empty absence or to be alone. Rather, in His Ascension into heaven, Jesus blessed His disciples and promised to be with them in a more profound way. The Ascension also marks the beginning of the Church’s Novena, the 9 days of prayer to prepare for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised us that we will be clothed with power from on high. Yes, the Holy Spirit will be descending on us so that Jesus will be present in us and His Church always.
So my dear brothers and sisters, let these days be days of prayer and spiritual preparation. We wait for the arrival of the Holy Spirit who will empower us with truth and love, with joy and holiness, so that the world can see that Jesus indeed present in each one of us.
Rev. Dominic Toan Tran