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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Ascension of the Lord

“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons ...But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you."

The feast of the Ascension of the Lord filled the disciples both with anxiety and anticipation. Anxiety because Jesus would no longer be with them in the flesh as guide, mentor and leader, but anticipation because he promised them the power of the Holy Spirit who would reveal to them everything they needed to do and say but without a timetable.

It is natural for us to want to know how our lives will unfold, and we convince ourselves if we know what will happen tomorrow we can be prepared to respond with faith. But this is not the way life or the Gospel comes to us. When the disciples asked Jesus to tell them when Israel would be restored, he resisted, reminding them that they must live in the power of the Spirit without knowing the exact day or hour.

Jesus' reminder to his disciples as he prepares them for his leave taking is consistent. His story of the foolish virgins who did not bring enough oil for their lamps is only one instance of this, but it was instructive to the disciples and remains so for us.

A Gospel life is built on our willingness to take time everyday not only to remember what we must do but to focus on who we ought to be. While our good works will be a powerful reminder to others that we live in and from the Spirit of God, our willingness to depend on Christ for our identity and strength will be an even more telling sign that the Spirit lives in us.

Today, receive the power of the Spirit with joy.

What are the natural strengths you bring to your faith life?

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