Homily For Solemnity Of The Lord’s Ascension (7th Week of Easter). May 12, 2013: World Communications Day

 The Holy Spirit The Greatest Communicator Of All Times

 Readings: (1st: Acts 1, 1-11; Ps: 46, 2-3. 6-7, 8-9; 2nd: Eph 1, 17-23; Gos: Lk 24, 46-53)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details contact him on:canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com or +23408063767512

Today the 7th Sunday in the season of Easter, the Church in Nigeria celebrates the solemnity of Ascension. Also, the Universal Church celebrates the World Communications Day. The solemnity of Ascension is one which commemorates the taking up of Christ into Heaven as indicated in today’s first reading from Acts 1, 1-11. It is a holy day of obligation and this could be the reason the Church in Nigeria and perhaps elsewhere in the world decided to celebrate it this Sunday in order to help her many faithful working in non – (Catholic/Christian) organizations fully observe it.

The Ascension is an important solemnity attesting to, and celebrating the reality of the God made man – Jesus’ returning to the Father. Together with Christ’s resurrection, it is also a clear manifestation of Jesus’ Messiah-ship. It is a solemnity that lifts up and sustains the hope of Christians that one day we shall be where Christ is. It is the final battle blow of Jesus Christ against the devil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church in teaching about this solemnity highlights the following three important theological points: Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain, (cf. Acts 1:11);…Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him forever. Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit (665-667). Ascension therefore, marks the beginning of the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to send us the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. So it sets us on a fast track to receive the Holy Spirit because Jesus himself tells us: “If I do not go away the Counselor will not come to you (Jn 16, 7).

In the second reading, Paul prays asking God to send us: “… a Spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed to bring you the full knowledge of him”. This is ad rem to what the Church celebrates today – World Communications Day. Here is a very important question and concern raised by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (2013): “During a time in which technology has emerged as part of the fabric of connectivity of human experiences, such as relationships and knowledge, we need to ask: Can it help men and women meet Christ in faith? It is not enough to find an adequate language, but rather, it is necessary to learn how to present the Gospel…” I say yes, but only if the Holy Spirit is in control. This is because the Holy Spirit is the greatest communicator of all times, the one who gives the knowledge, wisdom and understanding necessary for any type of communication, and the one who directs all communications. In fact, he is the “Minister of Communication in the Government” of the Most Holy Trinity. That is why Jesus says: “He will teach you all things…”

In today’s gospel, Jesus also knew very well that without the Holy Spirit the disciples cannot communicate the good news or witness effectively to him. Hence, before his Ascension, he advised them to: “…stay in the city then, until you are clothed with the power from on high”.  This power from on high we must seek if we must make any positive impact upon this world of ours. We must therefore pay attention to what Jesus tells us in today’s gospel. As an experienced commander He knows the terrain we are about to lunch into very well, and what it takes to be successful there. He knows how delicate and fragile the hearts of men and women of our age are. He knows that only the Holy Spirit can convince them. So as we celebrate the solemnity of Ascension today, Jesus equally reminds us that for effective communication of the word of God to all nations irrespective of our enormous technological achievements, we must seek the light and counsel of the Holy Spirit. This is because, without Him we cannot transmit the gospel message adequately. It is the Holy Spirit that softens hardened hearts, opens deaf ears and greases tight lips in order to loosen them for effective communication and reception of the good news. This is why Paul prays: “May he enlighten the eyes of your mind…”

On a day like this therefore, we must equally reflect on our own role in a world that High-tech communication has transformed into a global village. As Christians what roles do we play in making sure that we communicate right morals, excellent spirituality, culture of peace, and other good Christian values? If we communicate positively the world becomes a wonderful place, but if on the contrary, we issue wrong signals, our world will be doomed. So, as we celebrate the World Communications Day today, we must ask God to help us through the power from on high (the Holy Spirit) into whose hands Christ commends us on his Ascension to teach us the right things and ways to witness to him in order to make our world a safe and better place.

 

Peace be with you!

 

Maranatha!!

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