Day 0: By our baptism, we have become temples of the Spirit
The Ascension of the Lord refers to the moment when Jesus was raised up to heaven, after having suffered on the cross and after his Resurrection from the dead.
40 days after Easter Sunday, so we spread this great event of our salvation out over an extended period. 40 days after Easter and it’s still Easter!!! And this season lasts until Pentecost.
Ascension Day marks the end of the physical presence of Jesus Christ on earth, but he does not abandon us since he promises to send the Holy Spirit. So this preparation for the Ascension and for Pentecost turns our hearts towards heaven and awakens our thirst to receive the Holy Spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters, during this novena leading up to the Ascension, let us be houses of prayer or temples of the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says. We are made by God and for God. Pentecost is the birth of the Church! The apostles, when they had received the Spirit, realised that they were the Church… and what about us? Are we aware of being the Church, and of being Temples of the Holy Spirit?
We undertake this preparation in order to help us to turn our hearts not towards the heavens as the apostles did when they saw Jesus being lifted up from them, but towards the heaven inside of us, that place where the Spirit dwells, where God has chosen to establish his dwelling place. The term ‘temple’ implies a place of worship: so let us, in this Eastertide, be ever more fully transformed into a house of prayer, ‘If anyone loves me, we will come to him and make our home with him.’ (John 14: 23)
St Paul talks about our body in this way: ‘Do you not know that your body is the temple of God?’ (1 Cor 3:16).
Jesus himself spoke of his body in this way, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will build it up again … He was speaking of the temple of his body.’ (John 2:21)
Having been justified by the death and Resurrection of Our Lord, and purified by the discipline of the 40 days of Lent, only a few days until the end of these 40 days after the Resurrection, let us reflect on this mystery whereby Jesus did not leave us alone but, quite the opposite, he is very close to us, in us. It is we who have become his eyes, his hands …
Come back tomorrow for the first day of the novena!
Lord Jesus Christ, may my prayer rise up from the depth of my being, amidst the weight of my flesh and my history! Allow me to find you there. You the Risen one, and may I make my own this Good News that I am a temple of your Spirit.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6