Jesus, who came to the world from the Father, now leaves the world to go back to the Father. True Christians cannot but wait for him to come back and take them with him.
In Mt 28,16-20, Jesus gives to the eleven apostles the task to make disciples of all nations. He reassures them, “Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” It seems, then, that in Matthew’s account there is no need to wait for Jesus to come back. Or to think he is gone. For Jesus is always with them, though there is no lack of sayings that they watch.
But in the Acts of the Apostles and in Luke’s Gospel, to wait is understood. For these accounts expressly say that Jesus goes up to heaven. John says, too, that Jesus leaves. But it points to his being glorified, lifted up above the earth, that is, to his death on the cross. And, of course, there are other New Testament texts that make clear that Christians are to wait for his coming.
Our experience tells us, yes, that Jesus does not walk with us now as he walked with his disciples before. But, in the end, he went up and a cloud took him from their sight; he left them and went to heaven.
Those who love Jesus cannot wait to see him again.
For sure, it does not matter to those who do not love nor know Jesus that he is here or not here. But those who have taken him as their father, their mother, their all, miss him (see SV.EN V:537).
These, yes, have come to love and know him dearly. That is why his leaving have saddened them. But they get over it; they keep alive and happy his memory.
For, among other things, the seashore and the fishing boats remind them of his call of the fishermen. The fields of wheat and of barley, the vineyards, in their turn, send them back to his parables. Big churches and religious buildings make them wonder too: “Do these please God?” (see SV.EN VIII:49). “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” “Do we keep what matters most in the law—justice, mercy, faith?”
And those on the outskirts especially call up for them his concern and work for a more just, human, sympathetic world. Also, shared meals do not fail to bring to mind his saying, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
No, there is no way that those who love Christ with their whole heart can forget him. For with them always is the Spirit of goodness, love, mercy and justice that he has breathed out.
And as they breathe in the Spirit, they keep Christ’s words and do as he. For them, then, to wait for him to come, to look up to heaven, is to seek to better this world (GS 57). They know that there is no surer way to wait for him to take them with him than to live and die serving those who are poor (SV.EN III:384).
Lord Jesus, grant to those you have called to wait for your coming to see earth in heaven and heaven on earth. Deliver us from those who believe that earth does not matter and heaven alone counts. And from those too who think earth is all and heaven is nothing.
29 May 2022
Ascension of the Lord (C)
Acts 1, 1-11; Eph 1, 17-23; Lk 24, 46-53