"No sooner had He said this than He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight." —Acts 1:9
When the Holy Spirit is mentioned, the evil spirit tries to change the subject. Jesus promised: "Within a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5). The apostles responded by asking: "Lord, are You going to restore the rule to Israel now?" (Acts 1:6) When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the people responded: "They have had too much new wine!" (Acts 2:13)
When Jesus mentioned the Holy Spirit for the final time, He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:8-9). This may have been Jesus' way of indelibly impressing on us His last reference to the Spirit. When someone ascends into heaven, we have the tendency to remember their final words. Thus, the disciples took to heart Jesus' last reference to the Spirit. They waited and prayed for the coming of the Spirit.
Today's Holy Day celebration of Jesus' ascension serves to help us fix our eyes on Jesus. When we, with the eyes of faith, see Him ascend, we keep our attention on the Holy Spirit and receive the Spirit in power (see 2 Kgs 2:9-10; Sir 48:11-12). When we are baptized in, immersed in, preoccupied with Jesus, we don't change the subject; we let the Spirit change us.
Prayer: Father, may I refuse to take my eyes off of the ascended Jesus. May I soon receive the Spirit in a new way.
Promise: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down on you." —Acts 1:8
Praise: Praise You, risen and ascended Jesus, for sending Your Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit! Alleluia!
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Holy Spirit, Our Hope on audio AV 81-3 or video V-81.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008
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