As I was listening to my priest friend’s homily for Ascension this past Sunday, he was speaking about the two feasts of Ascension and Pentecost—a week apart in our Catholic liturgy. In our human reality we are so bound by time and space. Perhaps that is a good thing because it gives us time to reflect and ponder how these mysteries affect our everyday lives. The in-between time is a gift that allows us to let the messages of the gospel sit deep within us and just maybe, transformation happens step by step!
I, for one, usually like answers, so I can understand the apostles wanting to know what happens next? Jesus is talking about going away, ascending to the Father, yet promising them that it is necessary so that the Spirit may come. In fact, he’s telling them that now is the time for their mission to begin…to be his witnesses “to the ends of the earth.” No more looking up at the sky! They are going to be immersed into the heart of the struggles of their world, be sent to preach the Good News, and be asked, for most of them, to give of their very lives in martyrdom for this mission.
In Luke’s Gospel, the very next week these same disciples are gathered in the upper room with the doors locked and Jesus comes to them to bestow the gift of the Spirit upon them. I can only imagine what must have taken place in that week in-between; how were their hearts being prepared? Were they aware of all that Jesus had told them, were expectations high, was there some fear yet? Were they coming to know not only who Jesus is but who they were meant to be as a result?
As the disciples of Jesus who are we meant to be? Have we opened our hearts to the Spirit so that transformation can really take place in us? In this week of in-between time are we ready, as Providence people, to stand upright and confident in the presence of our God with us? Are we ready to speak the truth, to carry the Gospel message “to the ends of the earth” wherever that might be for each of us?
This is the in-between time where we muster our faith, hope, and trust and have unbounded assurance that the gift of the Spirit will indeed carry us into our own time and space to be those witnesses of grace and transformation.
Barbara McMullen, CDP