Ascension of the Lord – Cycle C
Reflecting Lk 24: 46-53
A few years ago I made an astonishing discovery. I glanced at the skin on my hands, and for the first time in my life it occurred to me that my skin has traveled with me all my life, ever since I was knit together in my mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13). Every seven years my ingenious epidermis has replaced the dead skin cells and replaced them with new ones, over and over again, and all these years I never even noticed. But without this faithful covering I would have succumbed to germs and infections months before I ever passed through the birth canal.
The eyewitnesses of the Ascension, the ones who heard Christ command them not to leave the city but to wait for the descent of the Holy Spirit, were like the earliest skin covering the embryo of the infant church. On Pentecost, like a mighty wind, that Church, heretofore hidden in fear and wonder, was born into a world like ours—dangerous, cynical, yet covered in the glory of God.
Stephen, that embarrassing martyr who actually stood up to the culture instead of assimilating into it (Acts 7: 55-60) was the baby skin of the new church. Through these two millennia, the epidermis of the church has continually rejuvenated itself through the witness of those who love Him.
This is what Christ desires to be the covering of the church until the end of time: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5: 22-23). These fruits of the Spirit will remain, and, in God’s time, will get under our skin for good, even to the ends of the earth.
Have you started your Pentecost novena? Pray with millions of Christians every day until next Sunday for the comfort of the Holy Spirit in your life, and the lives of all in your circle of love.
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