the Ascension of the Lord
Year A - Mt. 28:16-20
Father Daniel Meynen
the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus
had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some
doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority 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 lo, I am with you always, to the close of the
feast of the Ascension 2002, I offer you a simple reflection on the
Mystery that Jesus has been living ever since he entered into Heaven,
in the Glory of his Father, who is All-Powerful and full of Love.
On the eve
of his Passion, and thus on the eve of his first departure towards
Heaven, a departure accomplished on the Cross of Calvary, Jesus said
to his disciples: "It is to your advantage that I go away, for
if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go,
I will send him to you." (Jn. 16:7)
to your advantage that I go away." What bewilderment there was
in the souls of the disciples when they heard these words! They who
loved Jesus so much! They who hoped that Christ, the King descended
from David, would finally restore the Kingdom of Israel! "We
had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel." (Lk. 24:21 -
cf. also Acts 1:6) Nevertheless, Jesus does not hesitate to tell
them: "It is to your advantage that I go away."
Let us think
a little of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary who was also there, present
on the night of the Paschal meal, the last meal that Jesus would eat
with all his friends. What emotion there was in the soul of that
Mother so tender, so sensitive, so loving, when she heard her own Son
tell her: "It is to your advantage that I go away." What
grief and suffering! For, at first sight, how could one imagine that
such a separation of the Son from his Mother would be a good thing?
So what must
have been the reaction in the hearts of each of them? Would they try
to keep Jesus with them at all costs? Would they prevent him from
leaving? No one would dare do so, for they all knew that he was the
Master, and that he was right in all that he said and did.
Nevertheless, was no one there astute enough to thwart this divine
plan? A priori, no: God is God, he is all-powerful, he does
whatever he wants to do, and nothing can resist him. So?
So, the Most
Blessed Virgin Mary, who had already obtained an unprecedented
privilege, that of her Immaculate Conception, free from absolutely
every sin, understood what had to be done: because she was already
the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit, she could keep her Son in
her, in her heart, in her spirit, and preserve of that infinitely
precious being a perfect image, one so perfect that this image would
be like the presence of her divine Son within her!
said, during this same Paschal meal: "The Holy Spirit ... will
bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (Jn.
14:26) Thus, thanks to this consoling Spirit who was in her, Mary,
the Mother of Jesus, could already imprint upon her spirit a perfect
image of her Son, so that she would never lose him for a single
instant. Mary had no other means of achieving her goal, but this
means - that of the Spirit of God in person - was the most perfect:
no photograph, such as the ones we make today, could provide Mary
with such a souvenir of her Son after he rose up into Heaven on the
day of the Ascension!
his Holy Spirit, Jesus is always present in the world. Already,
through Mary, the spiritual presence of Christ was absolutely real,
so that, ever since his Incarnation in Mary and until the end of the
world, Christ is present on earth, ceaselessly, without stopping,
thanks to his Holy Spirit: "And lo, I am with you always, to
the close of the age." (Mt. 28:20) Truly, Jesus must leave and
go to Heaven for the Holy Spirit to come, in order that Christ might
be made even more present, in every spirit, in every heart, to the
ends of the Universe: "It is to your advantage that I go away."
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