We can understand the feast of the Ascension of our Lord in two aspects: the completion of a full circle and a hand-over opportunity.
The Feast of Ascension can be considered as the celebration of the full circle of Jesus’ mission. He came from the Father, and now he returns to the Father. He successfully accomplished his mission and now going back to where he came from. He came full circle. Being with Jesus in his full circle of mission life, the disciples have witnessed miracles and wonders, have heard great teachings and examples and have been in deep prayers and spiritual connections. At the day of Ascension, when Jesus was lifted up in front of their eyes, instead of feeling abandoned, they felt empowered and strengthened. For indigenous people, the circle is sacred. When we sit in the circle, we are in a safe and sacred place. We may hear so many things in that circle; we keep them for ourselves and apply the teachings we received in our daily lives. At the end of a sharing circle, we feel energized, empowered and ready to face any obstacle and harshness we may face out there.
The Feast of the Ascension of Jesus is also a hand-over opportunity. Have you ever seen those runners in relay race? They are doing a team work. When one runner finishes his/her run, he/she hands over the baton to the other runner who continues the race, and so on until everyone has done their part and the race is finished. The first condition to finish and win the race is to not drop the baton. At the day of Ascension, Jesus finished his run and handed over the baton to the disciples for them to continue and finish the race. It is now their turn to carry on the mission of Jesus and to deliver his message to the whole world. Today, we are reminded that we have received the baton in our hands, and so we are to carry on Jesus’ mission of love and care for ourselves, for others and for the creation. When we do that, we manifest our love to our Lord and to the Creator.
To continue his mission and the race he has started, Jesus did not leave his disciples on their own, as if he is not in charge anymore, or his task is done. Instead, he told them he would be with them to the end of the ages. Also, he promised that he would give them the strength they may need, the power of the Holy Spirit, so that not only they would finish the race, but also would they come out winners. In our daily lives, sometimes, we may feel this absence of the Lord, like he is not there. Sometimes, we feel powerless and unable to carry on because the obstacles in front of us appear bigger than our strength. Today, we are reminded that He is always there with us, and his Spirit will strengthen us to carry on our race and our mission of love and care.
May our faith in the Lord and the strength of his Spirit, grounded in our culture and in the sacredness of the circle, will empower us and will make us all winners.
May 24, 2020