Know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. When children grow up and leave home to begin a life on their own, both parents and children feel the truth of those words, ‘Know that I am with you always.’ The child’s leaving home may be necessary so their love for parents, and vice versa, can come to full bloom.

It was only many years after my parents were gone did I come to realise what a phenomenal blessing they had been to me. I shed my tears at their loss and wondered about getting on with life without them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Now, almost fifty years later, I feel stronger towards them than I did while they were alive.

Jesus told his disciples on the night before he died that unless he went away the Spirit would not come to them. The Spirit would bring home more fully and richly to the disciples, and to us today, who Jesus really was, and is. The mystery of the Ascension celebrates the mysterious reality of Jesus’ presence in his absence. Today’s feast is not calling us to live in the darkness of Jesus’ absence – sheer blind and cold faith in someone who is gone.

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you (Acts 1). The Ascension celebrates, rather, the work of the Holy Spirit making us aware of the deep richness of Jesus in our midst: the meaning of his life and miracles and words for us today, and the conviction that he is still alive and with us. When we feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, comfort the sick and incarcerated, we are serving the very person of Christ risen and living in people everywhere.

Fr. QQ  05/17/23



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