From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
May 29 – Ascension Sunday
As we sit here today, we find ourselves in a new and different place. We are entering a time of year that celebrates new beginnings. We enter at a time of increasing tensions in the world and in our country. We find ourselves both uncertain about events of the recent past, and unsure about what is to come moving forward. We are emboldened by the victory of the Resurrection and Easter, but challenged by what to do with it. This is exactly where the disciples found themselves at the time of the Ascension. We are called as they were, to move forward with confidence and hope, loving one another and trusting always that Jesus has our backs! He promised us that we would “receive power when the Spirit comes upon us that we may be His witnesses…to the ends of the earth!” We walk with the Holy Spirit at our side, Jesus in our heart, and God as our protector.
The Ascension is not a separate event from Easter, but rather is the completion of the Resurrection and prepares the way for the gift of the Holy Spirit – the Advocate whom the apostles and we receive at Pentecost. As Christ ascends to the right hand of the Father he leaves behind a church in its infancy, but fully gifted with unity, hope and diversity in him. The Ascension marks the completion of Jesus’ historical ministry and the beginning of ours.
The Ascension is not just focused on Jesus but on the Church. While his work on earth is complete, ours is just beginning. The joy we celebrate is the salvation Christ has brought us, but the Ascension also marks the call that each of us receives. We still need to be transformed into Christ. This doesn’t mean learning the rules, knowing our bible and attending Mass. Those are all good things. But our mission should be to live life reflecting Christ in all we do and in the way we treat others. People do not become Christians through the words of Christianity. People become Christians through the presence of Jesus Christ. We make Christ present by the way we live, by the way we treat others, and by the actions we take.
As Vincentians, we are called to lead the way for others who have been shaken by their challenges in life. Many have had their financial home rocked, and often their physical well-being and health shaken. Many find themselves in situations they never imagined. They are in some cases rudderless. They look to us for a listening ear, compassionate heart and virtual embrace. Now more than ever, humility, patience and trust in God are essential for us to have. We need to be their beacon of light on the hillside showing them the way to hope and renewal. We need to be the reminders of God’s eternal plan and eternal love, for He is with us always! How do I turn in trust to God, humbly asking for His guidance through prayer to solutions for others? How do I first listen, hearing and embracing the fears and sufferings of those I minister to, and then guide them to God’s will for them through prayer? How do I help them to see God’s presence in their lives even when in the face of their suffering?
Lord Jesus, help us to emerge this Easter season with a renewed faith and hope embracing the many blessings you bestow on us. Let us shout with joy telling all the world of your love for us. Allow me to minister always in humility, with gentleness and patience that I might respond worthily to your call. Grant that I might be able to effectively convey your hope, your presence, and your love to all I minister to. Allow me to be your instrument of healing helping to usher in new beginnings for those who are hurting. I pray all of this in your name. Amen