Living as close as most of us do to some rather large busy airports, we hear and see airplanes flying over-head frequently. It always amazes me to see the size of the planes and the number of people who are in them. I keep wondering what keeps them up there. There are all kinds of advertisements for air travel. The one that seems to tell us clearly what it is all about is: UP, UP, AND AWAY!
Well, today we celebrate the feast of the Lord Jesus going UP, UP, AND AWAY. The Lord found that it was time to move the people along to another way of experiencing God in their lives. They had walked and talked with Him for three years, and then at the Last Supper he showed the apostles a new way that He would be present to them in the future. Under the form of bread and wine, Jesus would still be with them. Now it was time to show them that he would no longer walk and talk with them…as he had been doing; but that He would send the Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity, to them. He had spoken to them often of his Father in Heaven, and how He and the Father are one. Then he told them about the Holy Spirit – who He and the Father would send to them. Of course…it remained a mystery to them.
God the Father is not too difficult for us to understand. God the Son – we can picture Him as a man who walked this earth of ours. But God the Holy Spirit…he (or she)…. Is more difficult to understand and to grasp all the meaning of. I think one of the best explanations of the Trinity that I have read is a book called “THE SHACK”. It may not be church theology, but it comes pretty close. I found it also interesting that the people in Nigeria didn’t seem to have much trouble understanding the teaching about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit world is very real to them.
The Lord assures the apostles that he will be with them always – but not as a man walking and talking to them, but in the Eucharist, and now in the person of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will strengthen them in their faith. We see the evidence of this in the Acts of the Apostles when Peter (that little feisty guy who is really scared of this shadow) gets up in front of hundreds of people and preaches to them about Jesus. He stands up to the Pharisees when they haul him into court. We see it in Paul who was persecuted, stoned, thrown out of town after town…and yet never gives up on the people, in preaching about the Lord Jesus.
This feast is an occasion for all of us to grow in our faith also. To turn to the Lord for His support in all of our problems. He promised to hear and answer our prayers…all we have to do, is ask Him.
I found it interesting that when the first Russian cosmonaut came back from his flight into space, he could tell the people that he had been to the heavens and he did not see God there, so there is no God.
I think the answer to him is the same as the angel had at the tomb: WHO ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? HE HAS RISEN, AS HE SAID.
Faith brings us to the full knowledge of God – just as it did for the apostles. God is not an old man living in the heavens. God is not just a man who walked this earth. God is not just the Eucharist hidden under the form of bread and wine…nor just the Holy Spirit living within us. God is all of these. He has many things to tell us, and He will…each in its own time. We have so much more to learn about God…if we just keep our minds and hearts open to Him.
This feast Day certainly gives us much to think about this week, in preparation for the
great feast of Pentecost next Sunday.