Jesus speaks his words in the Gospel today before the crucifixion, but they are especially meaningful today at Ascension. He tells the disciples then that they will not see him for a while, but then they will see him again, referring to the time between the crucifixion and the resurrection, and that their grief will turn to joy. And of course he was right. Imagine how deep their grief was watching him die, then imagine their joy at his resurrection. But now at Ascension, he is leaving them again. How can they bear this separation? He just came back – from the dead – and now he is leaving them again. How unfair this must seem. They just got him back, and now he’s leaving again. He says he is going to the Father, which is a good thing for him, but a sad thing for those he is leaving here. And we need to remember his words again, “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” At Ascension when he goes to the Father, he will not be back in a few days like he was at the resurrection, but we hear again that a little while later they will see him. This time when he goes to the Father, he will wait for them there. He will wait for all of us there.
When they meet again in heaven their grief will turn to joy. When we see him in heaven our griefs will turn to joy. Jesus proved at the resurrection that death is not the end and left us with that hope at Ascension, and not just for him but for everyone. He proved that all death is not the end and opened the gates of heaven. After a while, the disciples will see Jesus in heaven. After a while, we will see Jesus in heaven, and after a while we will see our loved ones in heaven. That’s the hope Jesus gives us today. My husband died a few years ago, and my grief is deep. But a little while and I will see him, and my grief will turn to joy. And it’s what we all can look forward to. A little while and we will see Jesus. A little while and we will be reunited with our loved ones. Easter promises us that death is not the end. A little while and we will see him and our grief will become joy.
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