Cynthia and I, to be frank, picked Cathedral of the Good Shepard due to convenience. A six thirty evening Mass in town on a weekday was just nice. Our Cathedral is the oldest Church in Singapore. It shows. Part of the ceiling is falling apart. There are cracks on the walls and there is no air conditioning, unlike the modernized neighborhood Churches. Maybe the crowd comprises of mainly tourists or short term visitors, I often find that there is a lack of passion in the community compares to the enthusiastic neighborhood crowd. The fans that regulate the airflow tend to be exceptionally noisy. So is the traffic outside. I can barely hear what the priest says through the mic. The echo does not help.
Today, we were pleasantly surprised. I arrived before Cynthia and was greeted by the students wearing Catholic banners ushering worshipers into the Cathedral. Seventh row seemed agreeable and so, I was seated close to the alter, next to the choir. Cynthia joined me shortly. Before the Mass began, the students who wear the banners handed us the song sheets. We saw music notes. This is so old school!
The choir, was magnificent. Jaw dropping it was. The harmony, the dynamic range, and the tone accuracy. There were three organists. Church music is meant to inspire, giving us a feel of divinity. More often than not, Cynthia and I cringe hearing those who sing in Church. The pamphlet says the the resident choir is Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ. Could this be that famous choir in Singapore? It could well be. The last time we heard their music was at Toa Payoh, Church of the Risen Christ. After the Mass, Cynthia turned to me and said, “Perhaps we shall from now on attend our Sunday Mass here?”
This evening we Catholics celebrated the Feast of the Ascension. It is the the fortieth day of Easter, always on a Thursday. Jesus was ascended to Heaven on this day, thousands of years ago.
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” ~ Acts I 6-10
The priest who gave the sermon looks old. The little hair he has left was silvery in color. Yet, there is such energy and fire radiating from within. Instead of diving into Jesus’s ascension, he started with a rocket launch back in the sixties when everyone was glued to the television watching the lift off. Eventually, that rocket took the astronauts to the moon and back. There was excitement, and anticipation. It was a successful lift off. People screamed.
What about Jesus’s ascension? Are we excited, in a trumpet blast? Or are we dwelling too much with our worldly matter and have forgotten that with our love and bonding with God, we too are having a piece of Heaven on Earth? The priest then reminded us: Look up to Heaven as you walk!
It is a powerful reminder that wherever we go, God is with us. All we need to do is to gaze upon Heaven, with love.