Fr Nigel’s Homily: The feast of the Ascension is a remembrance of Christ’s glorification following his resurrection from the dead. Taken from Hebrew tradition, we say in our creed, Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.’ This has to be understood as a metaphor. Its meaning is that Jesus is with God in the state of eternal happiness and glory that we sometimes call heaven.
The disciples see the resurrected Jesus, but still some of them doubted as we read in the scriptures. Maybe it was just too hard to process, maybe they were too preoccupied with other happenings, perhaps, they were uncertain about the change and didn’t want to face their new reality. But, they were there, they were present and they were being encouraged with the tender words of Jesus. “I will be with you always even until the end of the world.”
This situation of Covid-19, has brought about a lot of soul searching and yes, similar doubts and preoccupations. There have been a lot of heartbreaking situations too.
Early this week, I had a message from a school friend asking for prayers for his wife. His wife had lung cancer that the cancer that had spread to her liver. The liver was failing, and now the doctors have said that there is further they could do to reverse the situation. Given the restrictions with visitors at this time of Covid-19, it would be better that she goes home for palliative care, which would be around a month or so. His wife is very weak, and at that time, was not fully aware of her situation. They have a seventeen year old daughter and he going to break the news to her. They also have an eleven year old son who is autistic and missing his mother. We prayed for wisdom, courage and strength to deal with a very hard journey ahead. A few of my classmates got together and we arranged an online meet up. We decided e to talk, pray and whatever else comes our way. The meeting was something that really lifted him. He felt he was not alone and he had people supporting him. To pray for someone who is facing deep challenges is very soothing and helps us to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. There was another thing that we decided that we would do, and particularly he should do; we would use whatever time is left to make happy memories.
A lesson for all of us, use whatever time is left (long or short) to make happy memories for ourselves and for others.
Perhaps, it was a moment brought about by prayer gives has given us the resilience and strength to cope when we are faced with challenges.
Jesus leaves his disciples with an instruction and a promise. He tells them ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth’. He commissions them to a mission: ‘Go and baptise’ and make disciples and the promise “I will be with you always even until the end of the world.”