Jesus said to his disciples: “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”
Jesus is preparing his disciples for his departure. Just like any sepration, He knows that it will be very difficult for them too. He makes them to understand the importance of this act, explaining the necessity to listen to His Father. The Father who has loved them and chosent hem, will never abondon them and certainly, they will be accompanied.
Jesus reveals to us yet another mystery of his presence in our daily lives. His physical absence is not necessarily his absence, for in his absence we are accompanied by the Holy Spirit and through him he is present. Each physical separation is an invitation to rebuild our relationship in another way, so that all that the physical presence has brought us is well digested and comes to us in another form. This newness makes us reborn, totally transformed by the Holy Spirit. In this way, Jesus invites us to empty ourselves of our physical, visible and palpable attachments, in order to attach ourselves to the invisible elements, those that make us live.
Action of the day : Seek God’s will in every separation.
«It is better for you that I go»
Fr. Joseph A. PELLEGRINO
(Tarpon Springs, Florida, United States)
Today, we are presented with a deeper understanding of the reality of the Ascension of the Lord. In the reading from the Gospel of John on Easter Sunday, Mary of Magdala is told not to cling to the Lord because “I have not yet ascended to the Father” (Jn 20:17). In today's Gospel Jesus notes that the disciples are overcome: “because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go” (Jn 16:6-7). Jesus must ascend to the Father. Yet, He still remains with us.
How can he go, yet still remain? This mystery was explained by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI: «Given that God embraces and sustains the whole cosmos, the Lord's Ascension means that Christ has not gone far away from us, but now, thanks to the fact that He is with the Father, He is close to each one of us forever».
Our hope is in Jesus Christ; His conquest of death gave us the life that death can never destroy, His Life. His resurrection is the verification that the spiritual is real. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing can diminish our hope. The negatives of the world cannot destroy the positive of Jesus Christ.
The imperfect world we live in, a world where the innocent suffer, can point us to pessimism. But Jesus Christ has transformed us into eternal optimists.
The living presence of the Lord in our community, in our families, in those aspects of our society that can rightfully be called “Christian” have given us a reason for hope. The Living Presence of the Lord within each one of us has given us joy. No matter how great the barrage of negatives that the media delights in presenting, the positives of the world far outweigh the negatives, for Jesus Christ has risen.
He ascended, but He has not left us.