Clothed with Power
Ascension Day (C)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus. After His resurrection He remained with His disciples and continued teaching them for forty days more. The day came when He had to go back to the Father. Although He would no longer be seen physically, He would be present among His people in another manner.

He left His disciples a promise. The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down on you” (Acts 1:8). This is clearly repeated in the Gospel reading, “”See, I send down upon you the promise of my Father. Remain in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49). In the second reading, St. Paul reminded the Ephesians about this promise, “May he enlighten your innermost vision that that you may know the great hope to which he has called you, the wealth of his glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the church, and the immeasurable scope of his power in us who believe” (Eph. 1:18-19). As we gather today, let us recall and claim the promise of the Lord.

Action starter: Let us pray for those in positions of power.

Why look for power from somewhere else or something else? I had a student who was fascinated with developing his psychic or magical powers. He wanted to be able to heal, to communicate with spirits, and to foretell the future. His drive to acquire such powers had led him to some strange practices which to me are practices of sorcery. When a person does some animistic rituals over dolls and cats and chickens, the power he is seeking is certainly not from the Spirit of the Lord. It is from some other spirits.

We have just finished the conduct of our local and national elections. Stories abound of electoral cheating. To perpetuate themselves in power some candidates spent millions, committed murder, and manipulated the results of the elections. Those who sought power did everything they could to subvert the people’s will if this was not favorable to them. Achieving power this way is certainly not pleasing to the Lord. It would not be beneficial to the nation. If we do not learn our lesson, we will be repeating the same experience three years from now.

The power that comes from the Lord has many manifestations. It could even manifest itself in some paranormal way, but that is not the important thing. It is a gift that is given to give glory to God and to benefit the community. The lives of the saints tell us of saints who float in the air, who are seen in two places at the same time, who multiply food, and who heal the sick. Some saints even manifested in their bodies the wounds of the Lord. The saints did not seek these powers nor give importance to them. It was their friendship with the Lord and trying to please Him in all things they did that were more important.

The power that the Lord gives to leaders of the community is a power for the good. If it is for the good of the community, such power must also have come about in a good way. Power that comes from cheating, murdering, and oppressing will not produce good in the long term. They who plant the seed of evil will reap its fruits.

Let this feast of the Ascension of the Lord remind us of the right source and use of power. Let us be clothed with the power from the Most High. Let us use whatever power the Lord gives us to glorify the Lord and to build up His people.