The Ascension of the Lord
We are not made for goodbyes. I become surer of this each time a friend moves away or I hug my parents before leaving home. Even the temporary farewells don’t feel quite right, and it’s because we are made for eternal communion; a communion which we look forward to in heaven but which evades us here on earth. So when I imagine the disciples standing with Jesus on the day of his ascension, my human heart aches for them. Although Jesus assured the disciples that his leaving was for the best and that he would send them a helper, I’m sure they couldn’t fully understand what that meant. I’m sure they felt sadness and fear. They, too, were human, and they had to say goodbye to this man, their Lord, who had turned their lives upside down in the best possible way.
As Christians living today, we have the benefit of knowing that Jesus sent down his Holy Spirit a few days later. We know that he has not left his Church orphan and that he continues to come to us every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But as we find ourselves in this unique time between the Ascension and Pentecost, let’s allow ourselves to enter into the ache that the disciples must have experienced after Jesus returned to the Father. Let’s allow ourselves to acknowledge the reality that we are not in perfect union with God, and deepen our longing for heaven. And when Pentecost arrives, let us declare “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” with newfound vigor. Thank God that Jesus left, because now we have the opportunity to dwell with Him forever. As Paul reminds us, we have received a call and it is a call of hope. May we truly live in a manner worthy of this call, until the day that our hope is fulfilled.