The Readings today set a vibrant tone of overcoming, joyful redemption, victory, triumph, and promise. Jesus, having defeated death, will provide all the assistance needed to live life to the fullest. And more, He will provide the wherewithal to accept the charge that all baptized Christians have, which is to be witnesses of God’s great love to the entire world and so help all attain heaven.
There is nothing else that we can do, nothing else we can attempt and nothing else we can accumulate in our lives that is worth more than this. But if we want to have any chance of success, we need the Holy Spirit.
Jesus spent 40 days with His apostles after His resurrection, teaching and preparing them for the next things. The first next thing was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is the vital next step in development. But then Jesus does something curious. He tells them to wait. Why?
It’s not for nothing. The Jewish Pentecost fell 50 days after Passover. It celebrates the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses. These Commandments don’t provide intelligence, investment savvy or extraordinary talent. They give direction, right order, and purpose to God’s people. And this is the parallel. Jesus spent 40 days with His apostles then made them wait (traditionally 10 days) for the coming of the Holy Spirit to give them direction, right order, and purpose. The Holy Spirit does the same for us.
But, in the triumphant celebration of the Ascension, there is another theme at play. It is suffering. OK, why suffering?
Dr. Paul Chaloux has had a good deal of suffering throughout his life. A neurologist treating him for Parkinson’s Disease asked him why people suffer. He had no answer, but the question caused him to search for one. He now says that suffering has tremendous purpose. It is redeeming. It turns us away from distractions and toward God’s goal to have us ultimately share in His Divine nature. 
Chaloux notes that most people think of suffering as something that deprives us of what we see as good. But what seem to be good things can actually be spiritually (and psychologically) bad. Suffering actually warns us of the threat of evil. Once we realize that, God can then help us aim for virtue, which is the first task of suffering. The next task is to help us accept the grace of faith that opens our way toward God. The third task alerts us to the suffering of others and provides opportunity to demonstrate love for others. And fourth, united with the suffering of Jesus, our suffering can aid others who are suffering. 
Triumph and redemptive suffering. They don’t seem to go together, but, they do.

Deacon Greg Osgood