Solemnity of the Ascension
2019 – Cycle C
Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23/Hebrews 9:24-28, 10:19-23; Luke 24:48-53
The experience of the Ascension takes place at various times in our lives. It is a betwixt experience. An experience of great joy and hope as well as sadness and loss.
Ascension takes place when parents drive their son or daughter to college. Tearful goodbyes are mingled with a deep joy that their child is maturing and turning an important page in their lives. The children look forward to new adventures. Mom and dad return to an empty home. Memories of childhood flood their minds as they enter the house because “there is no love without loss”.
Ascension takes place when an adult daughter or son places a parent in an assisted living residence or nursing home. The safety and well-being of the parent offers reassurance and hope to the daughter or son that is now mixed with a sense of loss as roles are reversed. The son or daughter experiences the loss of childhood as the parent experiences the loss of control because “there is no love without loss”.
Ascension takes place when a friend moves away for an exciting new employment position. Gone are the Friday nights playing handball or the Saturday mornings at the reading group, the choir rehearsal, the golf course the… You can’t blame them. You’re happy for your friend. The position is too good to turn down. Certain days will now be empty and silent because “there is no love without loss”.
“There is no love without loss”. It is one of the difficult lessons of life; of particular poignancy in the spiritual life. The disciples experienced this when they heard Jesus say, “You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.”
“If you loved me, you would rejoice…” It is difficult at times to rejoice when you are experiencing the loss of a person even if it is for their own good; for your own good. Is that why the disciples linger looking up to heaven? The moment they look down and walk away it will confirm that Jesus is gone. And then the cost of love will demand payment.