After loss of Jesus at Ascension, have faith in Pentecost's promise - Catholic Courier

After loss of Jesus at Ascension, have faith in Pentecost’s promise

Approaching the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death, I recently experienced loss again. One quote that I encountered that has affected my prayer is from Bishop Fulton Sheen: “Unless there is Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.” But the story doesn’t end at Easter, either.

My mom went into the hospital on Good Friday and passed on Easter, giving me a unique perspective on the Triduum, but 10 years removed I have been praying about being further out from those days. I found myself in the 10 days between the Ascension and Pentecost when the apostles had lost Jesus all over again.

Grief is like that, even today. We may “get over it” or “move past it,” but then find ourselves reliving the loss. We know there is hope — after all, that is what got us through it the first time — but today seems different. The disciples don’t know if Jesus will ever return, but they have faith. They trusted when he said he would send an advocate, but that promise does not make the loss again any easier.

Why does that matter? Because at the Ascension Jesus also gives his disciples a purpose — a mission — and then he sends the Holy Spirit to equip them. If we believe that God wants the best for us, the wholeness of relationships and love in our life, then after a Good Friday of loss, God wants an Easter of healing. Those Easters may be followed by Ascension Thursdays of despair, but we must have faith in the promise of Pentecost. Our story is continuing, and our purpose is not concluded — it is only just beginning.

Smith is the coordinator of sacramental catechesis and family life for the Diocese of Rochester’s Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

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