Gospel Reflections by Fr. Enrico Gonzales, O.P.
Does the Ascension of Jesus prove that heaven is somewhere above the clouds? Let’s look at this mystery, not as a GPS which will help us locate God’s abode somewhere up there. Let’s view it in relation to the mystery we’re celebrating this Sunday: The Pentecost — The Descent of the Holy Spirit.
There is The Ascension of Jesus because there is the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Jesus disappeared from our view so that we could no longer locate him to be here or there. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will still be present in our midst. Sa Tagalog, si Jesus ay di na matutukoy na “doon” o “dito” kundi sa “namamagitan” sa atin. “Namamagitan” is a very intense word in Tagalog. It speaks not just of a spatial relationship but more than that, a uniquely “special” relationship. To ask someone’s relationship with another person by saying “May namamagitan na ba sa inyong dalawa?” is an inquiry that should be handled with utmost care. The query enters into the core of one’s heart because the matter is all about love.
Umakyat si Jesus sa langit. Nawala na sa ating tingin, ibig bang sabihin nito’y nawala na rin sa ating piling? Hindi. Isinugo niya sa atin ang Espiritu Santo upang mamagitan sa kaniya at sa atin. Dahil sa ang Espiritu Santo ang pag-ibig ng Diyos, ito din ang pag-ibig ni Jesus: walang maliw. Kaya kahit wala sa tingin, nasa piling pa rin. Hindi ito tulad ng pag-ibig ng tao. Marupok. Kung wala sa tingin, wala din sa piling. Kaya madaling maglaho, madaling maghanap ng kapalit.
When Jesus ascended to heaven, he did not take his love with him and left us orphans. With the Holy Spirit, the love of Jesus becomes ubiquitous as the wind. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (Jn 3:8)
Ganyan kumilos ang Espiritu Santo — hanging sa mabining haplos lahat ng bagay ay binubuhay, di man nakikita subalit damang- dama.
Mapasaatin nawa ang Espiritu Santo upang tayo’y maging tapat sa ating minamahal na kahit wala sa tingin ay nasa piling pa rin.
— Fr. Enrico Gonzales, OP
When we speak of the Holy Trinity we speak of the mystery of love — not a mathematical problem. Here, the number does not stand for quantitative entities. It stands for love. Love is one and by its nature shareable but for being such, is not at all diminished like a material object which when shared is reduced into smaller parts. This is indeed the dynamism of love: it’s a unity which the more you give, the more it becomes one. Sabihin na nating hindi ito isa, ito’y pagkaka-isa. Ang pag-ibig ay pagkaka-isa. Sa kadahilanang ito’y pagkaka-isa sa pagbibigayan, hindi Ito pag-iisa. Love embodies unity in reciprocity (mutual self-giving) — an amazing paradox, the combination of the one and the many. Anyone who treats this paradox as a mathematical problem alone loses the mystery altogether, and alas, fails to understand why God is in himself love (1 Jn 4:8).
Because God is love, he is one but never lonely — he is one alright but in three Divine Persons. God is in himself a loving communion — happiness personified. So, don’t use your calculator to solve the problem of the Holy Trinity because it’s not a problem. It’s a mystery. Having said that, it does not mean that it doesn’t make sense. Ask anyone who’s truly in love. They are happy because although they are distinct persons, they live and feel as one — a loving communion indeed! Love, even if it’s among humans so long as it’s true is a reflection of the Holy Trinity. After all, God created us into his image — God as love. And that God who is love is no other than the Holy Trinity.
–Fr. Enrico Gonzales, O.P
Photo Credit: Peter Paul Rubens [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.