Gospel Reflection for Ascension Sunday Easter Year C – May 12th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.
‘And now I am sending down to you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city then, until you are clothed with the power from on high.’ Then he took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. They worshipped him and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy; and they were continually in the Temple praising God.
In the famous crucifix of San Damiano, the Lord ascends with a smile on his face. It is over, his mission is accomplished, he has conquered death, and is now with us all days to the end of time.
His earthly mission is accomplished, but not his mission of love for his people. He is with us now.
Jesus often talks of joy, often the joy of God in forgiving a sinner. The big joy of God seems to be mercy, and even in the memory of his own death Jesus finds joy. In the chapel of the home of St Francis Xavier in Navarre, the crucifix is of the ‘smiling Jesus’. He smiles not in comfort and ease, but in love and sacrifice.
A New Way of Being
While we think today of the loss of Jesus, we are invited to rejoice as he leaves one way of being with us – on earth, to another way of being with us – from heaven.
He both awaits us there and helps us get there, the mystery of the Divine Son who is one of us.
The mystery goes further in that we are invited and called into sharing this life of his on earth, for in each of us is the life of Jesus, who makes his home in us.
A few lines from R S Thomas, the famous Welsh poet:
is his mind’s turbine
driving the earth’s bulk round
and around on its remedial
journey. I have no need
to despair; as at
some second Pentecost
of a Gentile, I listen to the things
round me: weeds, stones, instruments,
the machine itself, all
speaking to me in the vernacular
of the purposes of One who is.
Donal Neary SJ