Worship At Home
Small Group Reflection of 05-24-20
In these days of social distancing we have endeavored to provide a Corpus Christi online worship experience. The Worship At Home web page has been our attempt to provide that. One of the ways our community has used this resource has been to gather virtually in real time using video conferencing software like FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, and Zoom. In an effort to hold onto our deep liturgical roots, one virtual group has gone to the point of having rotating presiders, lectors, and even homilists. The reflections provided by the members of this group have often been very inspiring. In an effort to share these reflections with the larger community several of them have been collected and published here on the CC website.
Reflection from 05-24-20, provided by Mike Cole
Ascension Reflection 2020
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. The Ascension of the Lord is when Jesus leaves Earth and Ascends at the right hand of the Lord. The author of the Acts of Apostles writes that the time between Jesus’ Resurrection to the time that Jesus ascended into heaven was 40 days. A lot can happen in 40 days and we do not know exactly what happened between those 40 days, but we do have a snapshot.
Right after Jesus died there was great sadness from his Followers. Some of his followers gathered in a room in Jerusalem out of fear and to console each other while others left Jerusalem all together and went home. Their teacher, their friend, their companion that they held so much hope for had died on the cross. The first recorded sighting of Jesus was the day after his burial when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. Jesus revealed himself to Mary and told her to go tell the other disciples that he had risen. He appeared to Peter when he did not believe the women’s story of Jesus rising. He appeared to Clopas and his friend while they were walking home from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Jesus appeared several more times to the disciples in the room in which they were staying after his death. He also revealed himself to Peter and others while they were fishing out at sea. Each time his followers did not recognize him until an aha moment occurred and then they were over joyed to see him and be with him.
In today’s reading from Acts, Jesus appears to his followers one last time giving them instructions. Jesus told them not to leave Jerusalem, “but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”.
We do not know the questions that Jesus’ disciples must have had for Jesus between the resurrection and the ascension. We know that there was Hope and Joy every time his disciples saw him. We know that Jesus taught his disciples about the Kingdom of God. But did his followers have basic questions?. Did Jesus show up with enough frequency that it became ordinary?
Right before Jesus’ Ascension the followers of Jesus asked, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” The disciples were still missing the mark of why Jesus came to earth to begin with. He then tells them that they will receive the Holy Spirit which will allow them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. His Jewish followers could not miss the strong implication here on a mission to the Gentile world. We are called today, in like manner, to be willing to venture out beyond our comfort zones in promoting the gospel.
After Ascension Jesus followers could have left once again, feeling abandoned, afraid, and displaced. We do not know the length of time between the Ascension and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Instead Jesus’ followers did not feel abandoned, but instead they felt Hope, they felt that Jesus’ presence remained within them without physically seeing him.
The disciples came to perceive that Jesus was among them whenever they were with each other. His presence was more than that of a wake’s comfort, when the memory of the lost one lives large as long as the mourners remain together. No, an active agent, a presence, seemed to be summoning them together, giving them mission and identity. They felt it when they were alone and then found themselves rushing to share it with others.
That Spirit is living today, calling us to go forth and spread the Kingdom of God. Pope Fancis reminds us in his book New Beginning. New Hope that, “the Ascensions does not point to Jesus’ absence, but tells us that he is alive in our midst in a new way. He is no longer in a specific place in the world as he was before Ascension. He is now in the lordship of God, present in every space and time, close to each one of us. In our life we are never alone: we have this Advocate who awaits us, who defends us. We are never alone: the Crucified and Risen Lord guides us.”
In this time of pandemic it would be very easy for us to feel abandoned by the Lord. It would be easy for us to go our separate ways. For us to feel separated from the community. However, there is something that is holding us together which we come to realize is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is still living inside us, in our community. It lives with us even without the physical space in which we can all gather.
We are not alone as Jesus is living in our midst and we are called to continue to share that Hope, Joy and Grace.