20/21 May 2017
My dear friends in Christ,
This weekend we celebrate the feast of The Ascension of the Lord which marks Jesus’ return to the Father.
Our Christian journey might well be described as an ‘ascension’, but not so much in the sense of going up, more like moving toward; moving toward communion with the Father through Jesus. This movement towards communion with God starts here, on earth, but our hope is that it finds its completion and fullness in heaven. For this movement towards God to gain any momentum, one needs to possess a certain mindset and disposition of which humility is the foundation. Humility is an honesty about oneself especially in the sense of our ‘falling short’ when it comes to living our Christian vocation. It’s one thing to name an imperfection, yet quite another to do something about it. So, coupled with humility we need a sturdy determination in making deliberate faith choices, choices which move us forward and deeper into faith and love; essentially, this is a movement of the heart.
I’ve mentioned before that we have to look out for odd, incidentals in the scriptures because they’re normally code for something - we have one of those in the 1st Reading today. After Jesus had ascended, two men in white (i.e. angels) appeared to the apostles and say, “why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky?” In other words, ‘don’t just stand there, get moving!’ Perhaps Jesus’ departure knocked their confidence, and with it their sense of discipleship and mission. Once again, the scriptures invite us to identify with them and take a moment to reflect on our own sense of mission. It can be easy to get stuck in a faith ‘rut’ and lose sight of our faith purpose. I know we tend to view faith as a personal, private thing, but it is for others too.
In conclusion, our ‘ascension’ is the movement of heart towards a deeper sense of love and communion, not only with God, but with others. Here we join the ascended presence of Jesus, becoming truly catholic, truly universal, and our lives become one with that great flow of God’s grace which is intrinsic in all reality.
Let’s not stop and ‘look into the sky’, let’s keep moving, looking around us for those opportunities where we can bring God’s universal presence into focus.
Have a good week.