Meditation: John 16:16-20
Easter Weekday or The Ascension of the Lord (Solemnity)
You will see me. (John 16:16)
What a promise! Jesus was preparing to go away, but he would come back, and the apostles would see him once more. These words must have brought them a great measure of comfort.
And yes, they did see Jesus againon Easter Sunday, when he appeared to them in the upper room. But the seeing Jesus was speaking of here meant more than just encountering him again with their physical eyes. Jesus was also talking about the way that the Holy Spirit would help them sense Jesus presence and his guidance even after he had ascended and was no longer visible.
But why would Jesus think it was important for us to see him again? Didnt his cross and resurrection take care of our salvation? Wasnt it enough for us to hear his gospel and be baptized into his name?
Simply put, no. And thank God for this truth! We need to see Jesus every day. We need to hear his voice, to receive his love, and to be formed by his wisdom. As St. Paul taught, Jesus gave us the Spirit so that we may understand the things freely given us by God (1 Corinthians 2:12).
The truth is that we could never grasp the price that Jesus paid for our salvation or the depth of his love for us on our own. We need the Spirit as well, to give us the grace we need to live out Jesus commands. Without the Holy Spirit, we limit both our understanding and our abilities.
This is why Jesus wants us to be baptized, or immersed, in his Holy Spirit. He knows its the only way we can know the power and presence of God in our lives.
So what did the apostles do after Jesus was taken away from them and they could no longer see him? Looking forward to the fulfillment of his promise, they joined together in prayer. They delved into the Scriptures. They prayed, Come, Holy Spirit!
Lets follow their example. From now until Pentecost, lets dive into Scripture, fix our eyes on Jesus, and persist in prayer. Lets ask for the grace to see Jesus with new eyes, the eyes of the Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit! Open the eyes of my heart!
Saint Gregory the Great (c.540-604)
Pope, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on the Gospels, no. 29
May love draw us after him
"And after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God" (Mk 16:19) For he was returning to his own place, going back to a place he had never left, since when he ascended into heaven through his human nature, he bound together heaven and earth through his divine nature But on this festive day we must particularly consider this, dearly beloved, that our decree of condemnation has been cancelled today, our sentence to corruption has been cancelled. The nature which was told: "You are dust and to dust you shall return" (Gn 3:19) today went to heaven Dearly beloved, it is fitting that we should follow him in our hearts to where we believe he has ascended in his body. Let us flee earthly desires. Let nothing here below delight us who have a father in heaven.
We must consider carefully that he who was mild at his ascent will be terrible at his return. He will demand from us with great strictness whatever he has commanded of us with gentleness. Reflect on these things, my friends, constantly turn them over in your minds. The disturbance of things may still be driving your hearts to and fro, but fix the anchor of your hope now in your eternal home. Establish your mind's attention in the true light. We have heard that the Lord has ascended into heaven. Let our belief be the subject of our meditation. If the weakness of our body still holds us here, let us follow him by the footsteps of our love. He who gave us our desire will not fail us in our hope, our Lord Jesus Christ