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Reflection – Ascension Sunday May 10, 2024

Ascension Sunday
The Ascension of the Lord

Happy Mother’s Day!

We also hit a milestone today within the “Great Fifty Days of Easter” as we celebrate The Ascension of the Lord this weekend.

This is the formal ascension back to heaven of Jesus to God the Father after his bodily resurrection on earth. All the post-resurrection appearances and interactions of Jesus with his disciples were meant to prepare them to continue the great mission that Jesus had started with them. Even though the disciples must’ve been sad and even frightened that Jesus would be leaving them again physically, it was an important step for them to grow and mature in their own faith and ministry. Jesus often reminded his disciples not to “cling” to him because he would one day return to the Father. Jesus recognised the need for them to let go of his physical presence so that they would be able to realize the full potential of their own call and vocation to proclaim the Good News to the world.

 

Father Ron Rolheiser, a great Franciscan priest, once wrote, “The mystery of saying goodbye is really the mystery of the Ascension. The Ascension is about going away so that our loved ones can fully receive our spirit. It’s about the mystery of saying goodbye, when goodbye isn’t really goodbye at all, but only love’s way of taking on a different modality. It then can be present in a way that’s deeper, purer, more permanent, less-clinging, and less- limited by the tensions, disappointments, inadequacies, wounds, and betrayals that, this side of eternity, forever make our intimacy a work in progress.” So, the Ascension is not really goodbye for Jesus, but it is our God trusting and loving us so much that he passes on to us the great work of building up his kingdom in this world, until we meet him in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Speaking of goodbyes – after what now seems like such a short time – I will be heading back home to America this week. It has been a true privilege to come to know so many of you and to celebrate Mass and the Sacraments with you since Holy Week back in March. I hope you treasure your wonderful parish and all your beautiful churches and ministries. May you all continue to build up the kingdom of God here on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. I am grateful to Father Peter and Father Isaac for allowing me to share their home and priestly ministry here during this time. When I return to The States, I will move to a new mission or assignment at Saint Francis Xavier Parish, the Jesuit parish of Phoenix, Arizona. Drop me a line at [email protected] or better yet come visit.

 

Know that you all will be remembered in my Masses and prayers, and I sincerely ask that you remember me and my new ministry in your prayers as well.

Father Joe O’Keefe, SJ

 

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