Finding an Easter joy

Jesus_ascending_to_heavenEditor’s note: Francis Beaumier is a new contributor on Young Adult Catholics. His first post on his Lenten practice of mindfulness appeared here. He plans to contribute once per church season. He says, “I’m excited about having a regular commitment to writing these reflections because I’m finally getting myself to do at least a few “spiritual push-ups” (that’s what my pastor calls his practice of writing a daily homily whether he needs it or not).” Welcome, Francis!

In our liturgical calendar this week, we have arrived at the ascension, the final stop before Pentecost, and the 7th time that my pastor will say “Happy Easter” to us. While Lent often gets extra consideration, it occurs to me now that perhaps the Easter season needs a little attention, too. During Easter especially, we should be rejoicing with an indescribable joy (1 Peter 1:8), but I’m not sure that I’ve done much to make my Easter stand out. With only one week left, an old favorite from Albert Einstein is worth some pondering: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Our readings today break from our sequential tour of Acts and hit us immediately with the miracle of the Ascension by rewinding to the very first chapter. Two things stand out to me. First, notice the very human reaction that the disciples have to Jesus’s ascension. In Acts 1:10, you can just hear them say, “what just happened here?” It takes the appearance of two men/angels to shake them from their dumbfoundedness. This seemingly insignificant detail reminds us to stop and remember that yes, this really is a great miracle — a perfect reason to rejoice!

The other thing of note is that this is essentially Jesus’s last commissioning of the disciples, and yet it looks very different from previous commissionings as recorded by the same author. In Luke 9, we see very specific instructions about not carrying a walking stick and shaking the dust from your feet. Yet in Acts, it is as if everything that needs to be said has been said — we are simply given a call to witness to the world.

So, two simple commands: rejoice and witness. I’ll see you in ordinary time.

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