Soul Food for Hungry Adult Communities: May 5, 2013, Ascension.


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Where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope.’  ‘We …in spirit dwell already in heavenly realms.’  (from the choice of two Opening Prayers).

A dear aunt of mine, Bridget,  used always to say, as we parted at her little house up on the mountain-side,  ‘May God hold you in the palm of his hand!’ I always loved it. And we used these same words for herself, at her funeral Mass,- ‘ Bridget, May God hold you in the palm of his hand!’

And Jesus is telling our faith communities that HE will hold us in the palms of his hands, always,-  in the same palms that carry the wounds of his outpoured love.

‘Are we there yet, camel? Are we there yet?’ (from a popular ad for Bothar, the charity organisation).  We are already there, yes,- but we cannot quite see it. We are already, in and with Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, – in the deepest intimacy of love with our God and Father, our Creator. ‘Are we there yet?’ Yes, we are!

Familiar with the Sound of Music? -

‘So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye,  Goodbye’ 

Jesus is saying farewell,( fare well !),- but he is not leaving us as orphans. ‘I am with you all days, yes, to the end of time.’ (Matthew 28).

We say many farewells in life, some for a short while, some for a long time, and some permanent, at least for this life. Mothers bring their 4 or 5yr old to school, and they say farewell to one another. Young adult sons or daughters emigrate, and the farewells are very painful, yet nothing like they used to be in previous ages of travel. Later, they leave home to begin their own homes. Farewell. And then, there is the leave-taking of family or friends by the deathbed of a loved one,- if you are blessed to have the chance to say your farewells. Life is full of those letting go’s, as we move on to new phases.

And the twelve apostles let Jesus go, also. ‘As he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven.’  And what did they do? ‘They worshipped him, and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy; they were continually in the Temple praising God.  Why? Because he had promised them: ‘I am with you all days, yes, to the end of time.’  And also, ‘When two or more of you are gathered in my name, there I am in the middle of you.’ That’s the promise of his continued presence.

The Son is at the right hand of the Father, -and so are we, with him, one body with him. We are already there, in reality.

And the Son of God, the Son of Mary, the Risen LORD, is still with us, the whole time,- in our communities, in our families, in each of our hearts, and in our whole world. He is there, and he is here!

‘Goodbye’ is from the old English ‘God be wiye!’  What a nice blessing as we take leave of one another,- God be with you!

Are we there yet? Yes, we are. As God’s people, as the Spouse of Christ, as the Body of the Lord, we are with him already, in the heart of the Father.

Can we show it on our faces? Are you ‘full of joy‘ like the twelve, after he left them?

Share this with your community,- whether of two people, three, or many. Show the radiance on the face of Christ, in you.

Listen here to the hymn ‘God be with you till we meet again’

Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.

Take time to read again some of these lines from today’s readings:

‘He gave instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven.’

‘He had shown himself alive to them…for forty days he had continued to appear to them…When he had  been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait there for what the Father had promised.’

‘…but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit’.

’You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses…to the ends of he earth.’

‘Why are you standing here…? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’

Ephesians 1:17-23. ‘He has put all things under his feet, and made him…the head of the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation’

Alleluia:   ‘I am with you always, yes, to the end of time.’ Mt.28.

‘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.’

‘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; they were continually in the Temple praising God.’

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