Ascension of the Lord
Year. A: Acts 1.1-11; Eph. 1.17-23; Mt 28.16-20
The Sea and the Desert
"The sea was much better," the traveler complained. "Whenever I got tired it at least had its currents to push me forward on my journey but you," he looked at the vast desert surrounding him, "you are of no help."
He went down on his knees, dead tired. When his breaths restored back to normalcy, a while later, he heard the desert's voice.
"I agree. I am of no help like the sea and thus I often depress people. But do you really think people will remember you for crossing the sea? Never! For the sea doesn't allow you to leave any mark. I, on the contrary, do. Thus, if you cross me, I swear, you will in turn immortalize yourself with the imprints you leave over me!"
The traveler got the essence and got up to walk on. "It's always about the imprints," his heart echoed.
"He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight." (Acts 1.9)
Jesus left lasting imprints on the lives of the Apostles. That is why they were all filled with enthusiasm for the message of Christ. He made an impression, not like other people, his impression made through his death and resurrection. His impression is a tough reality, but always helpful to all those who were with him and want to be with him.
We always find difficult to find God’s traces. The best way to describe His existence is to say that God was "present." This nature of God echoes the Words of Yahweh and Jesus who both claimed to be, "I am." (Ex. 3.14; Jn. 8.58, 18.5; Rev. 1.8, 22.13) "I am" means "I am present; I am here!" In the case of God the Father, it can also mean, "While you may not see Me, I am here. I am present."
Now a days it is so difficult to convince people of God’s presence, and it is so essential to their life yet the difficulty remains a stark reality.
A girl approached me and said, father, please pray that I may not lose my faith. I said, “Dear, just pray and you will not lose it”. She said to me, “father, I am in great trouble. My boy friend whom I loved has left me, and I feel it is not worth living in this world”. I told her that she might get a better boy. What else could I say? “Is it true father?” “Yes,” I said, “just pray and keep a watch and you will see God will help you.” It happened in a month. She was all happy, because she got another one, much better than the previous one.
Faith works, but it makes us wait and always takes us through a tough path.
The Gospel of John tells us, "As the Father has life in Himself, He has granted the Son (the Word) to have life in Himself." (Jn. 5.26)
"In Jesus (Him) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily." (Col. 1.19,2.9) Jesus said, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his work. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me..." (Jn. 14.9- 11)
St. Paul affirmed our capability of knowing the nature of God when he stated, "Ever since the creation of the world His eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made. So they are without excuse." (Rom. 1.20)
When we celebrate Ascension of our Blessed Lord into heaven, we need to look up, means we need to look for the things to come. This expectation should keep us always alive. Often in this modern world people always tend to look for the material things, that they need immediately. There is a strong tendency to get everything we need and we want them immediately. Not necessarily this should be our approach.
I was watching a programme on 27th April, conducted by Burkha Datt, in NDTV by name “affluence mania”. Leading industrialists and CEO’s had been participating in this programme. They were responding to questions put by the viewers, who were convinced that they need to enjoy life, without much reference to their parents and grand parents. They were of the opinion that life is short and good and we need to make best of it with regard to spending the money one has earned. Then, what about the moral values? Of course some of them insisted that they were at terrible at stake.
I am just reading today’s news paper (29/4/2004 – DNA) report of one Josef Fritzl, Austrian, 70 years old, who had 7 children from his own daughter Elizabeth. The neighbours of this man are hanging their heads in total shame. He had imprisoned his daughter in 1984, drugged her and kept her for almost 24 years in the basement of his home and molested her, abused her. What a shame and cruel reality of this modern world. She must have undergone the tortures of hell in the hands of her own father. This is what we say our morals are at stake when we do not see beyond the reality of the world.
Ascension is looking forward with hope of great joy. Let us celebrate it with due reverence to life, to the neighbour and to the world to come where we will have our rooms as he has gone before us to prepare one for us.
Fr. Rudolf V. D’Souza OCD