wonder and awe change our gaze

here are my scattered notes for the celebration for mass today at christ our hope:

from acts 1:

“(jesus) was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said

‘Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.’”

after jesus ascended, there was a wonder and awe that that stunned the apostles. their eyes followed where jesus had gone: their eyes were fixed on the heaven/sky that they did not know. but they saw jesus ascend there. what were they to do now?

they were to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit and the power that they would receive. they had no idea what that would mean. but jesus had instructed them to remain in jerusalem; they would be jesus’ witnesses in the big city. jesus’ ascension was another step in understanding jesus’ love: he will not abandon them. how will it play out?

they were galileans– what were they going to be able to do in jerusalem? if they were in washington state, could the voices of 12 rag-tag fishermen from bremerton go to seattle and make any difference?

the Spirit, through their powerful witness, will change the course of history.

but in this step– the ascension– they would have to bask in the wonder and awe of the experience . and sit and wait for the Spirit to change them. their gaze will be redirected to their transformation and that of the whole world: starting in jerusalem.

what a beautiful step in the journey of faith: remembering jesus’ promise to be with them. but it will be in a new way that they cannot yet imagine. it is our step too. the wonder and awesomeness of God’s love can confuse us into a new chapter of life. for this grace, we give thanks

O Lord,
Your Ascension into heaven
marks the culmination of the Paschal Mystery,
and it contains an important teaching for us.
May we live life as an earthly reality
and develop our human potential to the fullest.
May we make use of the results of science
to achieve a better life on this planet.
But in our best moments
we know that there must be more
than all of this,
a transcending Reality.
As Christians, we know that this Reality
is Your loving Father
Who awaits us with You and the Holy Spirit.
Where You have gone,
we ultimately will come – if we are faithful.

( New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book )

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