• Acts 1, 1-11 Lifted up under their eyes
• Ps 47 (46)
• Eph 1, 17-23 God put Him on his right hand
• Mt 28, 16-20 I am with you every day!
Sisters and brothers,
On Ascension Day we say goodbye to Jesus. We hear this both in the first Reading and in the Gospel. But saying goodbye is not the same as leaving or leaving alone. Many of us know this from our own experience, because we had to say goodbye to a loved one, often also to more than one loved one. There is no longer any physical presence, and that is very painful. No more opportunity for a cordial conversation, a smile, a kiss, a hug. Not being together anymore. And yet there is no absence, because the beloved remains present in our loss, in our sorrow, in our memories, in our conversations with others, in the flowers near the photo and at the grave.
Perhaps the apostles have the same feelings: that Jesus said goodbye, but that He did not leave them. They complain and therefore did not see that He is no longer physically present, and yet He has instructed them to "make all nations his disciples, to baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and to teach them to keep everything that I have commanded you. "And He makes a very profound promise," Behold, I am with you every day, until the completion of this world, "He says.
And He is with us in our actions and thinking. In our endeavours to do the right thing. To stand up for people in need. Not to judge and not to condemn. To pay attention to others. Not only to think about ourselves and to take care of ourselves. To try to live by his words and deeds.
And of course He is with us in the Eucharist, in Communion and in our praying and singing. Just as He is explicitly present in the lectures that we hear and in the ways that He points matters out in the gospel. Time and again He shows us there that He is there for all people, for rich and poor, for sick and healthy, for men and women. And He also shows us that He makes no demands, does not judge and condemn, but helps and frees.
And He is also with us in the sacraments. In the baptism that incorporates us into his community. In the form that sends us his Spirit, in the Holy communion to which we will soon be invited, and in all the sacraments that we receive.
Sisters and brothers, Jesus' ascension is more than a farewell without leaving us alone. It is also a reminder of the commission He has given us. He thereby calls on us to be witnesses of his Spirit, and that is his Spirit of faith, of hope, of love, of peace and justice. But his ascension is also a profound promise, because when Jesus, Who has lived among men as a human being, has risen and has ascended to heaven, we too will rise and go to heaven by living according to his Spirit. May his ascension strengthen us in our faith and in our commitment to his mission.
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church/ Original Province,
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne,