” Then he lead them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.” (LK 24: 50)
I can only imagine the disciples feeling a deep sadness, looking up at the sky, seeing their Lord being taken away. At least that’s how I think I would’ve felt if I had been there in that precise moment in time. They had just seen the Lord beaten, humiliated, and crucified. They had experienced the joy of his Resurrection and being able to see him, hear him, and touch him for 40 days, and now he was leaving! After everything that had happened, he was leaving! Maybe there is a reason I was not there at that time, because scripture says: “…they did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.” (Lk 24: 52-53 )
They were joyful! They were joyful because they believed, and because they trusted. You see, before the Lord ascended into heaven he promised to send the Holy Spirit, the power from on high. This means that the disciples’ hearts were full of hope, hope of what they knew with certainty would happen. They knew they were never going to be alone, even if Jesus was gone, because the Spirit was coming to stay. The Ascension was also a renewal of their mission, which is also our mission, to bear witness to all Jesus said and did, and preach to all nations that Jesus will come again.
For me being joyful in hope can be a problem. The uncertainty of what will happen and the waiting is what kills me. It sounds simple in my head, ” All you have to do is trust the Lord.” Easier said than done. Being able to put all of my worries behind me and letting go of trying to control the outcome of things is hard. Thankfully, we no longer have to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. The Holy Spirit is here and the one thing I find that helps, when the waiting gets to be too much, is to ask the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer so that the Lord can grant me the grace of hope. So instead of spending time in my head stressing out about what’s going to happen or whether my problem will be resolved or not, I can be like the disciples and stare at the sky a little longer , be joyful, and hope.