Where do you look for the love of God?
When, at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, two men dressed in white garments stand beside the apostles, their question is a pointed one: Why are you standing there looking at the sky? At the Ascension of Jesus, the apostles are called to refocus, to look inward rather than upward, for it is there that they will find Jesus living in them, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation of which Paul speaks in Ephesians. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, Jesus has reassured them – and that Spirit will given them a new way of seeing, a new purpose in life. Jesus’ Ascension thus represents a significant shift in the way the apostles understand themselves, which is to say that they are now members of a community filled with the love of Christ, and gifted with the capacity to share that love with the world.
As Christians, we too are called to refocus, that we might find the Spirit present in us as well. When, as Paul says, the eyes of our hearts are enlightened, then we can hope to be engaged in a relationship of love with the Lord, a relationship in which we are always moving toward fullness. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that the disciples worshiped, but they doubted. Do we come to church with absolute conviction? In baptism, we are brought into the fullness of God – in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – and our grasp on that fullness should shift how we understand ourselves, and how we need to understand ourselves, which is as members of the Body of Christ, a community with the Paschal mystery at its core. All that God is doing in us right now leads us to hope for perfect union; in the meantime, all that we do, all that we say, should give witness and praise to God (Psalm 47). As we pass through the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, let us also look inward, rather than upward, opening ourselves to the Spirit – that we might live from the love that is ours in common, and share it with the world.
This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source: Wordle