“So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.’ And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1: 6-11)
At the time when the Lord ascends in His resurrected body, having spent forty days among us, the “men of Galilee,” the disciples, still lack the grace of understanding His divine Kingship. Because they still cling to their old hopes, that Christ will “restore the kingdom to Israel.” So here, just before His Ascension, He once again reminds us of the promise of the Spirit; of the “power” not political, but from above: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
And He further confuses them, by being lifted from their sight, so they’re left standing there, bedazzled and “looking into heaven.” But as the two men in white robes assure them, He has not finished His work for us, no. He “will come” again. And as St. Paul notes, Christ lifted up our renewed, human body in glory, having taken “captive” our darkness and tormentors, in order to make way for Another Comforter and His gifts. Christ is making way for the Holy Spirit, Whose time is coming, in the time of the Church, with her abundant gifts to each of us: “But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (Eph 4: 7-8, cf. Ps 67/68:18)
Let me be open to His gifts today, as I stare up in awe, not quite understanding the bedazzling mystery of His plan. Glory be to our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Who continues to work tirelessly to lift me up, toward His kind of Kingship.