The Day After Ascension Thursday
May 27, 2022
After major life events whether it is marriage, an acquisition of a new home, or retirement, we may ask the question, “And now what?” When we reach a milestone in our lives, we wonder what the future holds for us. I imagine the apostles and the many new followers of Christ felt the hope of eternal life after Jesus conquered sin and death by stepping out of the tomb on Easter morning. They enjoyed the presence of Jesus. They ate with him, questioned his wounds, sought information on the kingdom, walked with him, and prayed with him.
After Jesus ascended to heaven, I am sure as they witnessed “a cloud take him out of their sight,” they wondered, “And now what?” This glorious moment aligns itself with Jesus’s promise to send the Holy Spirit. We now possess the gift of eternal life along with the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide us as people who serve God and humankind. We now have the power to preach the gospel and to build God’s kingdom here on earth. We now receive the power to live into the gospel that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. We now possess the power to live into the law of the gospel by feeding the hungry, healing the sick, housing the homeless, and freeing the captives. Each of us must be among God’s people as one who serves.
And now what? This becomes an easy question to answer when we can rely on scripture, the sacraments, Christian community, and the means of God’s grace. Of course, we will face struggles in life. Nevertheless, when we live a devout life by practicing acts of charity promptly, diligently, and frequently, we feel the abiding presence of Christ. We also experience the power of the Holy Spirit working through us to testify to the reality of Christ in all persons.
Perhaps as we discern the question, And now what?, we may return to the empty tomb of Easter morning and realize we are “holy partners in a heavenly calling.” In other words, we have been set aside, consecrated by the blood of Jesus to respond to God’s call to love one another as “Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sacrifice once and for all.” The now what demands that we live as holy partners, working together to build God’s kingdom.
And now what? We possess the wonderful gift of eternal life, so let’s share it with others.