Today we are celebrating the Ascension of the Lord. This must have been a very trying time for the Apostles. Their friend Jesus, who had changed their lives forever, and had become the center of their lives, was now telling them that in a few days, they would be Baptized with the Holy Spirit, and now he is lifted up out of their sight. We are told that they were left looking at the sky as he vanished out of their sight. It would be an understatement to say that this must have been a time of confusion and wonder at the same time.
Jesus was preparing the Apostles for their future as a community guided by the Spirit, while they were still looking at the past and asking if the old kingdom of Israel would be restored. They must have been asking what the future would look like and how they would be able to do the Lord's work with such an unknown future ahead.
Like the Apostles, our thoughts and concerns about our faith communities in the future may look uncertain or even a little scary at this time. But we need to remember the words Jesus left with his disciples and also with our changing faith communities today. "Behold I am with you always, until the end of the age." With the Spirit guiding our parishes of Saint John the Baptist, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Saint Stephen Protomartyr, we look with great hope and promise to the future. Change can be difficult, but it can also open up many new and exciting possibilities.
The Apostles were asked to let the Holy Spirit guide them and they did a pretty good job. As we celebrate the Ascension let us also open our hearts to the Holy Spirit's guidance as we begin our new journey as a faith community together.
Fr. Ron Hopmeir, Pastor
Saint Stephen Protomartyr