18 May — Ascension of the Lord
“It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by His own authority…”
I have an irrational aversion towards uncertainty; nobody likes it, but I avoid it like the plague. It is an occupational hazard from the days when I used to trade financial markets for a living. My day job was so chaotic and so intense, that I would go to great lengths to minimize volatility in my personal life. I would read books from the back, skimming the ending first so I would know what was coming. I googled the spoilers to movies before I watched them, a habit I continue to indulge. And I would leave potential partners at the first sign of relationship stress because I was (and still am) averse to drama and confrontation. It didn’t bother me that this was not how things are supposed to be. I justified it as a way to keep my emotions on an even keel.
But Life does not quite work that way. Life isn’t a book that we can start reading from the end, or a movie that we watch with spoilers in hand, or a financial investment you can try to hedge out. Life is about waiting, and doing the best we can while we wait. Life is about managing our impulses when faced with uncertainty and volatility. Life is about making hard decisions with only half the information, or loving someone despite the pain of grief and loss. Life is about managing fear, doubt, worry, despair – all the things I try to avoid. That most of us try to avoid.
I can only imagine the turmoil of emotions the disciples were forced to reckon with, after Jesus’ resurrection. Forty days is not enough time to convince one’s friends that one has defeated death and is risen from the dead. Risen from the dead. Even by today’s standards, with our significant advances in medical science, resurrection is an improbability, a miracle, an event requiring great of faith and a willingness to suspend one’s disbelief. But that is the basis of our Catholic faith – that Christ is risen. It is a lot to take in when you reflect on it, and not something we can accept without the grace of God. The logical mind would never be able to reconcile it without divine help.
As we gather this day, to celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, let’s take the time to grasp the enormity of today — Christ was pronounced dead. He was resurrected. He spent time amongst the living after his resurrection. He ascended into heaven. It is a lot to take in. And that is the gift of faith – that we are ok with the mystery of it.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for God’s grace, that allows us to embrace our faith and the mystery of it.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to all who devote themselves to evangelizing, teaching and spreading the Word of God. We give thanks for their compassion, their patience and their commitment to helping new believers grapple with their faith.
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