Seventh Sunday of Easter
On this Sunday we find ourselves waiting in an in-between period in a couple of ways. In our present situation, we find ourselves waiting with expectation as to how things will develop, as to how and when things will change, and as to when we can get back to normality or at least semi-normality. It seems like life has been put on hold in many ways and we are waiting for it to resume. But also in this last part of the season of Easter, we are in an in-between time. This Thursday just gone was the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord. Next Sunday is the great feast of Pentecost, the culmination and end of the Easter Season. So this Sunday finds us in that in-between time: between The Ascension of Our Lord, Our Lord returning to his Father in heaven, and Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.
As a Church, we commemorate and celebrate the events of the Passion, death, Resurrection, Ascension, and descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost over a period of time and as different events. But of course they are really all part of one event: the salvation of humanity.
Those first disciples of Our Lord could not have completely understood what was going on and what was going to happen next. They certainly didn’t understand on Good Friday that Our Lord would rise again. And then when he returns to his Father at the Ascension they must have been puzzled. Even though Our Lord had assured them that he will not leave them orphans, they must have felt a sadness that he was leaving them and would have been unaware of the significance of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit would descend upon them, to be an ongoing presence among them.
St. Augustine of Hippo says that: “Just as [Our Lord] remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear... Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him?
While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him.”
That is surely very comforting in this present time. We are united with Christ in faith. He shares our pain. He is with us and we are with him.