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  • Writer's pictureFr. Tien Cao

Ascension Sunday - 21st May 2023

The Ascension - Jesus is invisible but not absent

Story: Not at all!

When Jesus returned to heaven, Archangel Gabriel was surprised that He came back so soon. Gabriel knew that the task entrusted to Jesus by God the Father was extensive and could not be completed in just three years. So, Archangel Gabriel asked Jesus: Why did you come back so soon?

Jesus: Well, I wanted to stay longer. But they crucified me.

Gabriel: Crucified you? Does that mean you failed?

Jesus: Not exactly. I actually managed to establish a group of believers. From now on, they will continue my work.

Gabriel: But if they also fail, then it would be a total loss!

Jesus: It won't come to that, because I have promised to be with them until the end of time, and I have also sent the Holy Spirit to help them.

Gabriel: Ah, I see. Then there won't be any more failure.

The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord reminds us that God is invisible but not absent. Jesus, before ascending into heaven, instructed His disciples to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. He assured them that ‘I am always with you.’ After the Resurrection, Jesus is no longer limited by physical distance and remains present

with us, just as God has been since the beginning. Jesus, in His divinity and oneness with God, is invisible but not absent.

The disciples were commissioned to focus outwardly on their mission, extending beyond their own circle to include others. This noble commission remains relevant today. The Mackenzie Catholic Parish continues to fulfil Jesus' commission by baptizing both infants and adults and sharing His teachings. We hold onto Jesus' promise that He is always alongside us. Jesus, invisible yet present with the Father and the Holy Spirit, invites us to recognize Him in the Sacraments and in the faces of those who suffer, and our support for them is an act done to Him.

As we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, let our hearts be filled with hope. Just as Jesus, the Head of the Church, has ascended to heaven, may we, as His Body, follow where the courageous Shepherd has gone before. Together, with joyful faith, let us sing: "God mounts His throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord."

Fr. Tien Cao

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