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Jesus’ departure PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 17 May 2015 – The Ascension of the Lord

The Lord Jesus was taken into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God

There are departures and departures. When some people leave us, we sigh with relief. Tax inspectors, for example, unwanted guests, the sponging relative. Other leavings leave us grieving. A parent’s death, for example, our child’s first move out of home, our spouse’s departure for a long stint of overseas work. We hardly notice other departures: as we close the door to the plumber, farewell the emergency teacher or leave our bank manager, we are simply business like.

Ascension of Jesus

Ascension Day recalls Jesus’ departure. Mark describes Jesus being taken up into heaven and so returning to be with God. A remarkable picture, we might think, but the people in it are all very down to earth, almost as if their overseas boss is catching the plane back to the head office. Jesus has final instructions for his less than competent work force. He drops in on his disciples as are eating together, ticks them off for their stubborn disbelief in his rising from the dead, tells them to go out to proclaim the Gospel, and explains that their work will be accompanied by extraordinary cures and expulsions of demons. Then he leaves to return to the right hand of God.

...Ascension is not simply a goodbye.

The disciples don’t mope in the departure lounge. They immediately go out to preach the Gospel, and their healings duly follow as predicted. They show no grief, no fuss, no relief to see Jesus go. They have been given work to do, get down to it, and of course have Jesus with them. He is not a distant boss but remains interested in them and available to them even though he is in another office.

We make a fuss of Jesus’ Ascension because it reminds us that Jesus’ death was not final, that he rose to be with us, and that he went to God to stay with us. It marks a new stage in God’s involvement in our lives, not its ending.

But Jesus’ Ascension also marks a change in gear. Previously Jesus’ taught and acted and preached the Gospel of God’s love. After the Ascension the task is handed on to his disciples who preach the good news of Jesus. The mission continues.

And so we head towards Pentecost. Jesus sends the Spirit through whom he remains real and works among his people. So the Ascension is not simply a goodbye. It is a hello, but to people who are being sent out to happily to live the Gospel.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

Lenten candleTaizé Prayer Meetings

The FCJ Sisters invite you to a Taizé Prayer to prepare for Pentecost. Please come and experience.

Thursday 21 May (7:30pm – 8:30pm)

FCJ Community House
1 Moonbria Avenue, Kew
(Corner Mont Victor Road)