Ascension of the Lord (C) - Where do we look for Jesus?
The Ascension of the Lord happens forty days after the Resurrection. In one of the resurrection scenes on Easter Day, when the women came to look for Jesus at the tomb, they saw two men in dazzling garments who said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?” (Lk 24:5). The women then announced this news to the others. When Jesus ascends into heaven, the disciples are left standing there looking at the sky. Here again two men dressed in white garments appear and ask them a question about why and where they are looking for Jesus. The disciples have been told by Jesus that they will receive the Holy Spirit and be his witnesses “to the ends of the earth.” The Ascension of Jesus does not mean that Jesus has left the world - that he is absent from our lives. Rather, it means that Jesus has brought our humanity into heaven, and he stays with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He promises, “I am with you always, until the end of the world.” We see him in the lives of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit and witness to the life of the resurrection. We get stuck, as the apostles did, when we are looking for him in the wrong place. The forty days Jesus spent with the disciples after the resurrection was to teach them about the Kingdom, to teach them that he was alive and would continue to be with them in a different way, in a different appearance. We know in many of the resurrection accounts, Jesus appeared in a way in which he looked physically different than what the disciples were used to. This was a time to prepare them for the sacramental life and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Where do we look for Jesus? We don’t see him by looking at the sky or by visiting the places that he walked, but in his Body, the Church, i.e., in the lives of those filled with his love and in the encounter with the sacraments. Starting on June 19, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus, the Archdiocese will begin a three-year National Eucharistic Revival. The goal of the Eucharistic Revival is to renew the Church by igniting a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Recognizing Jesus’ presence and being filled with God’s love through the sacraments, especially the Mass, is what empowers us to go forth as Christ’s witnesses in the world. As Jesus was lifted up in the cloud which hid him from their eyes, he returns in a hidden way through the power of the Holy Spirit - “hidden” in us and in the sacraments. May we go forth from this Mass, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, glorifying the Lord with our lives.