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The Ascension of Our Lord and Pentecost

“He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”

Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection on Easter, He ascended into heaven. The risen Christ, who, in the sight of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven is so important that it is affirmed in our Apostles’ Creed – “He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead."

Christ’s ascension foreshadows our own entrance into Heaven, after death. Hence, Ascension Sunday is important to us as Catholics as it means we now have the confidence of knowing that we too can go where He has gone. And so, there is much to rejoice on this beautiful feast because it marks only the beginning of greater things to come.

Before Jesus’ ascension, He promised to send down the Holy Spirit onto His apostles. Their prayers for this began on Ascension Thursday and ended on Pentecost, 10 days later.

Pentecost comes from the Greek word meaning the “50th day” as it is fifty days after Easter Sunday that we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire upon the Apostles. This marks the beginning of their ministry here on earth, hence, the birthday of our church.

On Pentecost, the Apostles and their followers were gathered in a room when a great wind blew and a flame, in the shape of a tongue of fire, appeared over the heads of those present. This gave each one of them the ability to speak in various tongues, even though they had no prior knowledge of that language, neither could they understand each other. This made some people accuse the Christians of being drunk but Peter was quick to correct them saying that it was the Holy Spirit giving the apostles the gifts and fruits needed to fulfil Jesus’ mission – to preach the Gospel to everyone.

On Pentecost Sunday, the priest wears red vestments to symbolise God’s love through the symbol of fire and the tongues of fire that descended on the apostles. We have also received this same spirit and it is this Holy Spirit that unites as a God’s people. As S Paul said in his letter to the Romans, “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship.”

And so, let the Holy Spirit guide you along the right path, in all situations of life, to help each other along the way. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into our lives and our parish, as we grow in prayer and become empowered to speak with courage to carry out the mission given to each one of us, that of spreading the love and word of God.

Further reading:

  1. 8 things to know and share about Pentecost

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/8-things-to-know-and-share-about-pentecost

 

  1. Reflections on the Feast of the Ascension

https://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20120516_1.htm