Can you imagine what the original Disciples of Jesus must have felt? We have the attainment of His promise of the Spirit; they were still waiting for its arrival. We know the work of the Spirit; they had yet to experience that fulfillment of Jesus’ promise.
The mystery is that while He ascends to the Father, He still remains with them [and us]. He is here: at once the promise and the fulfillment of that promise. He is present in the Word, the Eucharist and in us: the body of Christ. We receive the support of our loving God in order to do His work in the world. In turn, we are His hands, His feet, His voice, His hugs, His helpmates. We are called to be temples of the Spirit and actual Tabernacles of God. In the Ascension readings today Jesus charges his disciples to go to the ends of the earth—to make belief in Him universal—which is the actual meaning of the word catholic.
In the Second Reading from St. Paul to the Ephesians we hear St. Paul bless them (and us) with some of the gifts of the Spirit: “…(May God) give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of Him…may the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know the hope that belongs to His call…” All of us are charged, according to our gifts, for the building up of the body of Christ. The hope is that we will all attain a unity of faith and knowledge and understanding of the Son of God, in order to mature spiritually to the extent of the full stature of Christ─striving for holiness always and in all ways.
We are all people of promise and fulfillment (thank you Sacraments!). We have the Holy Spirit in us: we have the solace and comfort, the empowerment and sustenance we need for His work: we are the fulfillment of His promise, co-creators of a heavenly kingdom here on earth. His presence is made clear in the world by our ‘Acts’ as His disciples. The fulfillment of this promise is in the use we make of all of our gifts for the Kingdom of God. We celebrate the risen Lord among us every day by all we say and do: this is promise and fulfillment!