When it comes to the Ascension there was always in my mind one burning question, why leave? There are all sorts of deep theological reasons that I could put forth, all of which are nice, but they don’t quite get there, don’t quite answer the question, at least, not for me. The reason Jesus left, the reason he returned to Heaven, was simply that it was time. It was time to go, he wasn’t supposed to be here any longer.
In my years of study at St Meinrad School of Theology, I always loved being there. I still feel a sense of home when I drive toward St. Meinrad on a Saturday morning and the spires of the Archabbey church come into view. When I go there, however, I am going there for a reason. There is a goal I want to reach; there is a purpose for my being there. As much as I love St. Meinrad, as much as I enjoy being there with people who have become close friends, I know that I will be leaving, returning to my home. As I drive back to Louisville on Sunday evening, as I cross the bridge and enter the city, I know I am home, I am where I belong. While I was at St. Meinrad I belonged there, it was where I was supposed to be at the time. Louisville, however, remains home, the place I always return to.
Jesus came here with a purpose. From what we read in scripture, I think it is safe to say that he loved being here, he loved his life here, he loved the people around him, he loved to laugh, but he came here with a purpose. He came to show us what we can be. He came to show us that we can be so much more than we realize. He came to show us that while we love our time here, we are not home. Jesus’ time here was limited, just as our time here is limited. Jesus came with a purpose, to remind us of who we are, and to lead us home. When Jesus ascended, it was time. He was returning to where he belonged. He could no longer be limited by time or space, he was without limit. He ascended to show us the way, to lead us to our home where we will have no limits as we live in the presence of God.
The Solemnity of the Ascension
May 20, 2007