Between Ascension and Pentecost

“Ascension” by Polish painter Jerzy Duda Gracz

“In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” – John 14:18 
A friend of mine told me he cried when masses were cancelled. For many, it’s painful not to receive the Eucharist regularly. This made me think about how the disciples must have felt after the Ascension and before Pentecost. Ascension when Jesus spoke in mystifying paradoxes like, “the world will no longer see me, but you will see me” and “I am going away, and I am coming to you.”

Luke’s gospel recounts that the disciples worshipped Jesus as he was carried up into Heaven and that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. But in John’s gospel, we hear that the disciples were perplexed at first, they didn’t know what Jesus was talking about, and sorrow had filled their hearts. Jesus acknowledged that they would suffer his departure saying, “So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

Jesus compares the anguish of his bearing his impending absence to the labour pains of bearing a child, saying that soon the pain will not even be remembered because the joy will be all the greater.

It must have been hard to believe when Jesus told the disciples, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you.” 

Perhaps in the midst of sorrow over not receiving Communion, it’s good to identify with the disciples’ perplexity that there could be any advantage in Jesus going away from them on earth. We can dwell on the mysterious ways God exceeds our natural longings and hopes. 

“The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.” – John 16:25

*Disclaimer: Not a theologian, just daily blogging 

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