25 May 2022 – The Ascension of the Lord (At the Vigil Mass) (Year C)

by Fr Joachim Robert

Acts 1:11-11
Psalm 46:2-3,6-9
Hebrews 9:24-28,10:19-23
Luke 24:46-53

Theme: Let Us Be His Witnesses

Dear friends,

On the celebration of Ascension, we recall of Jesus’s constant presence among us. And the presence that Jesus offers after His Ascension is the gift of the Holy Spirit, a power from on high.

And as we look at the celebrations, dear friends, the constant presence of God among us makes us realize that we need to be a courageous witness of the Gospel. Because whenever we preach the Gospel by the way of our lives, we must give reasons to what we believe in. And as we enter into that passion and that zeal to preach the Gospel, we must give accounts of faith that makes us to be convicted, be strengthened of what God has done in our lives so that we can bear witness to those experiences of God that He has worked in our lives.

But as we preach this Gospel, dear friends, we will face challenges, just the same way of how the Apostles felt whenever they preached the Gospel. They were filled with fear, with trepidation, with areas of challenges, with disillusionment but they remained faithful. And even in their fears, in their challenges, the Lord accompanied them and they became bold witnesses of the Gospel.

And for that, dear friends, we need courage. Courage that does not come from our own strength and our own will but the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit. And Jesus says we should not be discouraged and as He was ascending to heaven, He said:-

“I am with you always to the very end of the age”.

And that is an invitation, that is an assurance the Lord gives to us. In whatever circumstances of life that we are in, the Lord assures us that He will comfort us, that He will walk together with us even though He may not be physically present but spiritually He would lead us and move us forward to be courageous and bold witnesses.

And the second thing, dear friends, that we need to be reminded is that Jesus promised to remain with us always in his consoling presence and He does not invade into our lives but He consoles us with His presence and comforts us with the solace of His presence. And the way that Jesus takes is not confrontational. The way that Jesus takes is a way of accompaniment, accompaniment that leads us towards a greater understanding of who we are as God’s child.

And this Spirit, dear friends, sent by Christ and the Father works to rekindle in our lives, in our hearts, the areas of sin and make us be repentant of the sins that we have committed and He allows us to walk together in a deeper relationship with Him. Because for those of us who are repentant can find ourselves confident in the gift that God is giving to us. The gift of boldness, the gift of courage, the gift of assurance of God in our lives.

And Jesus, dear friends, with His presence among us continues to reveal to us the risen Lord in every aspect of our lives. In our challenges, in our dark moments, the obstacles that we are confronted with, Jesus is there. Jesus, the risen Jesus, is there to lead us forward.

On being a courageous witness and allowing the abiding presence of God to be with us, we need to check ourselves whether are we able to bear the fruit that God wants to give us because if we, guided by the Holy Spirit, become bold and courageous and we are able to walk together with others, we will have these two qualities, dear friends.

One is the quality of gentleness, the gentleness that we are able to fill the circumstances and the situations that people lack. Rather than pinpointing of what people have done, we will try to fill the gap because the Spirit of the Lord is a Spirit of unity and He leads us forward. Even though we may have differences, the Lord continues to bind us in love, give us this opportunity to respond in love and that makes us bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

And the other thing is, dear friends, that we even though in our own timidness, in our own fragileness and in our own brokenness, we may find the courage to put our faith and trust in God.

So today as we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, Jesus rising to His heavenly glory, we too are reminded that we too are assured of His presence, that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us just like it guided the early church. And as we prepare ourselves for our whole Feastday, Pentecost, a time that we rekindle our past memories and rekindle those areas of ministry, of life, of family life that we are confronted with, we ask the Lord that as we begin this journey, the Holy Spirit will be sent forth into our lives, into our community, into our parish and may the Holy Spirit continue to teach us to love again.

For these gifts of the Holy Spirit and for this gift to relearn what we have learnt, we pray.

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