The first movie I saw in the theatre was Star Wars in the late 1970s. I remember being totally in awe of seeing battles in outer space, adventures on unknown planets and strange looking creatures playing music in a smugglers’ bar. I was definitely “Wowed” by the movie experience.
Since then I’ve been a loyal fan of Star Wars, even of the movies that weren’t so good. To be “Wowed” is to be impressed, it often makes us a fan, supporter or customer. This Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. When the Lord ascended to the Father, it seems to me to have been a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to “Wow” and thus to generate much excitement and total support.
If I were giving advice to the Lord on his ascension, I would have said that we need to make it a big show, to “Wow” the people of Jerusalem. Maybe ascending from the Temple. Maybe pick the busiest time of the day. And maybe ascend “with a shout . . . [and] the sound of a trumpet.” If this had been done, then I think all would have become followers of the Lord.
They would have been so “Wowed,” so impressed that their support would’ve been guaranteed. And yet, this is not what the Lord did. Instead, Christ went out of Jerusalem, somewhere near Bethany, brought with him some of his disciples, taught them, blessed them and then ascended. The key to understand the actions of the Lord is to be found in the second reading. Saint Paul wrote, “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.” The Lord is not interested in “Wowing” us, is not preoccupied with impressing, rather he wants us to know who he is and who we are.
With the “eyes of your heart” we can come to understand that which is beyond understanding. We can glimpse the love of the Father for each of his children, of each of us. We live our normal lives. We go to work, we visit our friends, we dream of things probably never to be realized, we worry about our families, we relish moments of success and retreat from failure. We think we are just normal, everyday people, not too significant to the world or to God. And yet with the Ascension of the Lord, what does the Lord do? He brings our humanity into the very life of God. He brings you into him. With the “eyes of your heart” we can understand a little bit more the love of God for each of us and we can understand who we are. We are not normal, everyday people, rather we are his beloved children. And this is the “glorious inheritance” he has given to each of you. God isn’t so interested in “Wowing.” He is interested in loving.