The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
The gospels of this week prior have been leading up to one incredible event – the Ascension. It is this feast that we will celebrate tomorrow, the seventh Sunday of Easter.
Whenever I meditate on this glorious mystery, I don’t feel happy, I feel selfishly saddened by the thought of Jesus returning to heaven. If I put myself on the ground with the apostles at that moment, I find myself in mourning. The Jesus that I feared was gone forever, rose from the dead and walked with me again. He ate with me, talked with me, dried my tears, and attended the daily rigors of my life.
At this glorious moment of His return to heaven, there I am standing on the ground seeing my beloved friend, my brother, being lifted up to the sky. I find myself wanting so badly to tug on the hem of his garment to hold Him back. I know that it is selfish. He is returning to His Father to a place where there is no suffering, no death, no tears – only peace and joy and praising…and yet I want to keep Him physically here for myself. I resist the urge to hold onto Him, and as I watch Him lifted into the clouds, I’m unable to fight back the tears, knowing that I will not see Him again until my own death and resurrection.
I stand there looking up to the clouds until He is gone from sight, and as I walk away in mourning, I am reminded of His last words to me – to us. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…. and behold I am with you always until the end of the age.”
There’s little time for self-pity. My love for Him compels me to follow His command – to get busy sharing His message…and to remember His presence with me even though I can no longer see Him. I long to be in His Holy presence again. I must share this enduring, all-encompassing Love of His, so that my brothers and sisters will also long to one day be in His Holy presence.
May God Bless us all on our spiritual journeys so that one day our journeys may end in Him.