Another has a good job and a happy family but his youngest child was diagnosed with leukaemia some time back and life just closed down for the parents as they concentrated on caring for their child. A third has lived with a spouse who is verbally violent and a fourth is wounded by the cultural misunderstandings arising between people who work together but come from different parts of the world.
These are all good people, really trying to do their best. But in one way or another they are caught up in circumstances where they find no way of resolving the issues. They need a dose of hope! When we eventually come to our death we will come to the end of the limitations that we now experience.
Cardinal Newman wrote many books and thousands of letters but he faced huge misunderstandings in his time. His influence was limited as his opponents contested his words. But since he died, 120 years ago, his influence has spread around the world. Death removes the ‘corruptibility’ (St Paul’s word)of our life and we put on ‘incorruptibility. It removes our limitations.
The ascension of Jesus is a pledge of our own ascension. It is a resolution of the pain, tensions and difficulties we face. All that burdens us will be taken up into something new and resolved. For landlocked people this image may not work, but I have the picture of a mountain stream hurtling along meeting obstacle after obstacle. Some the water brushes aside. Some the water simply goes round. But eventually the water slows down as it enters a huge river and finally the sea. It is a process of slowing down and becoming part of something much bigger.
So the passages of scripture we read on Ascension Day are all about giving us a bigger perspective on our particular and limited lives. The message is: ‘Courage! Keep going. Don’t lose heart. All will become clear and be resolved one day.’ No wonder the disciples went back to Jerusalem ‘full of joy’ (Luke 24:52).Post published in: Faith