The Pastor’s Thoughts — May 21, 2023, Ascension Sunday

May 24, 2023 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“All power in heaven and earth has been given to me.”

God the Father began His salvation of man when Abraham responded to Him in faith. The Incarnation and birth of Our Lord began the Son of God’s saving work among us when He became flesh and was born as one of us. This Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven begins the time of the Holy Spirit of God’s presence among us. Jesus’ Ascension into heaven opens the door to the Holy Spirit’s dwelling within those who have been baptized into the Body of Christ.

Our Lord’s Ascension into heaven allows us to see God in a new way; Jesus’ Ascension is not an ending, but a beginning. It only appears that Jesus’ Ascension is a departure, but it is not. Christ in His humanity is now taken to a new status, the highest of all states of being, sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven. In the fullness of His divinity, Christ now comes to us in the power of the Holy Spirit and through His Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. He will always be with us; He will never leave us.

Therefore, the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven is the completion of the “Circle of Life.” Christ has passed beyond our sight, not to abandon us but to be our hope. Christ, our Hope, the head of the Church, is the beginning and the end of the “Circle of Life.” Where He came from and where He has gone back to, the Father, is where we hope to follow. By Ascending to His Father in His human Body, Jesus makes it possible for us to come to the Father through Him, because we are members of His Body, the Church. That means that we are never alone, Jesus is with us always through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus rules the Church from His everlasting throne in heaven and gives it life and guides it through the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus works in and through us, especially through His Vicar on earth, the Pope and in His Church. He has chosen to do it that way, so that we can all share in His work of redemption. As members of the Church, as members of His Body, we continue in our own lives, the work that Jesus did in His earthly life.

We spread the Good News of God’s mercy and salvation, healing those around us, by loving our neighbors as ourselves, and offering our own sufferings to God in union with Christ’s sufferings. We are all brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. Only when our faith reaches every aspect of our lives, do we, as Christians, become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel, to strive for holiness of life by loving each other. We need to seek the ultimate purpose of our lives. We need to recognize that holiness of life, implanted within us, is a deep thirst for God.

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