Visiting friends and relatives is an important and life-giving part
of our lives and there are always some rituals to mark the arrivals and
the greetings. But the departures, as I recall from my childhood, can
have even more elaborate rituals. After the first sign of movement when
my father would say, “we had better get going”, there would be a further
half an hour or maybe even an hour before finally we would get in the
car. There was something extra to eat, or an insistence that we stay a
bit longer. For us, children, this was always very frustrating. We
wanted to get out the company of adults and get back to our games. And
yet, sometimes, these conversations in this last half an hour were often
of deeper meaning and real engagement. It was as if we realised the
depth of our belonging and we wanted to honour that.
The Ascension of Jesus has some of those dynamics. The Disciples are
upset and dismayed at the thought of His departure. He reassures them
that He will send the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the Helper. He
reassures them that in a very real way He will still be with them.
At this time of the Ascension, we remember that Jesus has ascended
into heaven and has left us. But there is reassurance that He will send
His Spirit at Pentecost. We can wait for that Spirit of inspiration and
healing, asking always that our lives be transformed, our hearts
consoled and made new.