The Ascension of Our Lord

When Beethoven finished writing his 23rd. piano sonata,  he wrote the word appassionata on the cover.  Ever since then it has that name.  When we listen to it, we can understand why,  it is an explosive piece of music,  and it makes us think that the person who wrote it, must have been on fire on the inside.  That is what appassionata means;  a stimulus within, which moves us to achieve great things.  In today’s gospel, we find the apostles accompanying Jesus to the mountain for the ascension.  He lights a flame in their hearts,  and he promises them the Holy Spirit.  Their hearts are filled with joy and they return to the city.  Their experience is our experience also. Jesus lights a flame in our hearts, he gives us a misson,  to bring his good news to every person we meet in our daily lives.  He promises us the Holy Spirt who will come into our hearts with his wonderful gifts.  We may not be Beethoven,  but we can  write a sonata  with passion, not with music notes but with the words and deeds of our daily lives.  So lets start writing. Pope Francis spoke recently about the importance of 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. Today at the ascension Jesus is saying 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 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’