Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Ascension of the Lord (C)
Not Alone

Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9; Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrew 9:24-28; 10:19-23; Luke 24:46-53

Today I’m reminded of the story of the boy who was sent to school by his parents. I don’t remember the name of the school. Maybe it was SJI (Jnr). At first, he was very sad to leave his parents. He didn’t understand why they had to leave him with all these strangers in such a strange place. But his mum and dad explained to him that they loved him very much and that he was always in their thoughts even while they were hard at work to support the family. Also, they reminded him that, in a way, even though he could not see them in school, they were still very much with him. At recess time, for example, when the boy ate the sandwiches that his mother had made for him earlier that same the morning, he could remember how much his mum loves him. Or when he was talking with his friends and sharing the stories and jokes that his dad had told him at home, he could also remember how much his father cares for him. In this way, even though he was apart from his parents while in school, he was actually learning to appreciate even more deeply the love that his parents had for him. And because he remembered how much his parents love him, he began to enjoy his time in school. He became a very good boy. He concentrated on his studies. And he also had lots of fun talking and playing with is friends at recess time.

That was not all. Some time later, the boy’s brother was also sent to the same school. Like him, his younger brother was very sad to leave his parents at the beginning. He often cried and refused to do his schoolwork or to play with the other children. Now it was the turn of the older boy to help the younger one. He reminded him of all that his parents had told him. He especially taught him how to remember how much mum and dad really loved them. The older boy felt good to be able to help his brother in this way. It made him feel even closer to his parents and their love for him. After some time, he even began to help other kids who were having trouble. He really began to enjoy his time in school.

In a way, the feast of the Ascension, which we are celebrating today, is something like this story. Jesus leaves his disciples, he leaves us, to go to his Father in heaven. But he is not leaving because he doesn’t like us. Like the mum and dad in the story, he goes so that he can work for us, to make us even happier. And even though he goes, he actually does remain with us in some way. Like the boy in the story, there are things that we can do to make him present among us. There are things we can do to remember how much he loves us. When we come together to celebrate this Mass, for example, when we listen to the bible readings, and when we receive Holy Communion, we remember all that Jesus has done for us. We remember how he became a human being like us, how he suffered and died on the Cross and how he was raised on the third day for us.

We can also feel Jesus’ presence especially when we reach out and help one another. Sometimes we will meet people who are sad. Maybe they have no friends to talk to or play with. Or maybe they don’t know how to do their schoolwork. By helping them as best we can, we can also show them how much Jesus loves them. And when we do this, Jesus becomes present among us, because we are learning to be more like him.

Although Jesus ascends to heaven, he does not leave us alone. How can you meet Jesus and speak with him today?

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