PLEASE NOTE: In some dioceses, on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated.
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Acts 18:1-8 + John 16:16-20
“… you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”
Just as the earth has two poles, so the Season of Easter has two poles: the Resurrection and Pentecost. Both are solemnities of great joy for Christians. Yet each is preceded by an event of loss, of “grieving” even. The Resurrection is preceded by the Death of the Lord, and Pentecost is preceded by the Ascension of the same Lord. But to use the word “preceded” here is a bit lacking. The Death and Ascension of the Lord are the “events”—the sacred “mysteries”—that make the Resurrection and Pentecost possible.
Jesus refers to both sets of mysteries—the Death and Resurrection, and the Ascension and Pentecost—by His words in today’s Gospel passage: “you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” Today’s Gospel passage is from the sixteenth chapter of John: part of Jesus’ Last Supper discourse. In the short-term, then, He is speaking about His Death and Resurrection. Yet in His divinity, Jesus also knew of His impending Ascension as well as the Descent of the Holy Spirit, so He is also speaking here about His Ascension and Pentecost.
Much of the world today celebrates the Ascension of the Lord. Some dioceses will transfer the Ascension to this coming Sunday, and celebrate today as a weekday of Easter. In either case, begin a novena today: nine days of prayer, longing for the Holy Spirit to come into your life more powerfully, and to help you live more fully your vocation within the Mystical Body of Christ.