The end of a house visit usually ends when I see the host or feel myself tired. The conversation winds down to a closing script, which politely ushers a person out. I leave in order that the host and I may get on with our normal routines. The Ascension of Jesus could seem similar on the surface. However, the departure of Jesus as a physical person seems the last thing the fledging Church would need in order to fulfill its mission. It is also the last thing Jesus’s disciples, as his friends, would have desired.
Jesus does not leave so that his disciples may return to their normal daily patterns. Instead, he charges them with the deepest dream of the Father: that all his children may be united in faith. It is not a dream he desires to do on his own, but invites us to partake in his activity. As Jesus ascends in his physical form, we are able to see more clearly that we are untied through and with Christ in a Mystical Body spread across all the peoples of the world. To bring God’s dream to reality and to live out fully our participation in Christ’s Mystical Body requires of us to ask God for help to overcome the barriers in ourselves and others to be united in faith.
When Jesus ascended, the disciples, as we do now, cannot return to things as normal. We have a renewed sense of our call from God to heal and bring others to him. We are reminded again of who we are in and through Christ. God desires a world for us transformed through faith. We must face the world in the places where it is marked by sectarian misunderstanding, enmity, and violence. Let us pray that the Lord transform our hearts where the seeds of division grow too. May we demonstrate the faith we have in God to others since God has placed his trust in us.
Where or when have you felt united in faith to the whole Church or the human family? What actions did this experience prompt you to do? How did you look differently at another person different from you?