Feast Day of the Ascension

In the world today we very often use the word special skills, like how to relate to other people, what to say, and what not to say in certain circumstances, how to behave and how not to behave. We are emerging from a long and difficult lockdown and we probably all need a refresher course in social skills. Two of the expressions that we use most are hello and goodbye.  It’s facinating to see little children saying hello and goodbye for the first time. Pope Francis spoke recently about the importance of these small words, like hello, goodbye, thank you, etc.  Goodbye is said when somebody is leaving;  it can be for a short time and it can be for a long time,  or it can be forever.  This Sunday we are celebrating the feast day of the ascension.  Jesus brings the apostles out of the city to a hill,  and there he says goodbye to them.  They have become very good friends,  they are going to miss him but now his mission has been fulfiled,  and he is returning to his father.  They are sad, just as we would be sad if we had to say goodbye to somebody we love,  or when somebody we love very much is dying.  But as Jesus is leaving, he is staying in a very special way with his apostles.  He is now in their hearts, nothing can seperate them,  not even death. There is a beautiful expression in French  ‘a bientot’ which means see you soon, and is completely different to ‘au revoir’ which means goodbye.  Jesus is sending them on a great mission but he is also going with them.  We as christians, can share with the apostles this experience.  For a christian to say goodbye it means until we meet again,  and until we do meet again, you will always be in my heart.  And in a special way it means that Jesus does not leave us,  he is with us in everything we do.  There is a beautiful prayer which you have heard before,  and it moves us all very much.  ‘Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work, I give you my feet to go your way, I give you my eyes to see as you do, I give you my tongue to speak your words, I give you my mind that you may think in me, I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. This is the meaning and lesson of the ascension. And it teaches us that goodbye is not the end,  but the beginning of a great new adventure  in our lives. ‘A bientot’