When you read or hear the word "Ascension", no doubt several images might come to mind. Surely there must be something like Jesus the Space Shuttle "taking off" from a place in Israel. A few might think about Jesus himself with his mind on "taking" his place next to the Father again in heaven. There is also the thought of Jesus leaving without his disciples while at the same time assuring that he will return. Whatever imagery might come to your mind there is one constant theme we might consider because I believe most do not see it in the Ascension. What is it? Jesus TRUSTS the disciples and us. Trust, trust, trust: this is what it's all about "Alfie."
We are called upon with this feast day, whether on Thursday or Sunday, and when it actually happened that first and only time, to understand that the Ascension assures all of us that GOD DOES TRUST US.
In the first reading St Luke writes that he sees the Church is entering a new time. Of course Jesus did not return to the Father with any sense that we could not be trusted. He said it time and again during the last meal with the disciples, according to St. John, and on occasions when he made his cameo appearances after the Resurrection.
In the words of Matthew's gospel there is no description or reference to the Ascension but there is the inference that Jesus who had returned to the Father believed that the disciples and their successors would certainly continue Jesus' presence in the future days.
Lastly, consider all that has happened within the Church since the days of the Second Vatican Council: we have become a Church that places great importance on the role of men and women in the operations of the Church. Perhaps for some not enough has happened ... but just look at how long it took to get to Vatican II and all it called the Church to do in the new world.
The big question, however, is this: do you trust yourself to fulfill the empowerment the Ascension gave to you?
The picture, I know, is making you wonder. Just something to look at as you consider how God has entrusted something so special to you. The picture is that of the top side of a large turtle or tortoise! It might be a reminder to all of us to come out of our shells into the world of complete trust in the Lord who has entrusted so much to each of us.
Please take time to read the posting that appears beneath this Ascension reflection.