Daily Reflection
June 1st, 2000
Chas Kestermeier, S.J.
Department of Classics & Modern Language
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Ascension of the Lord 
(in a number of countries and dioceses, this solemnity is celebrated on Sunday)
Acts 1:1-11
Psalms 47:2-3, 6-9
Ephesians 1:17-23
Mark 16:15-20

The obviously human life of Jesus came to an end on Good Friday; he was so clearly human that his claim to be God was the very cause of his death.  After Easter, Jesus was still present on earth, but in a far less obvious manner and only to those who believed in him.  His presence during this period was frequent and relatively public, as he appeared most often (according to the New Testament) to several people at a time as they gathered in his name.

What the Ascension marks is not Jesus's departure from our world but the beginning of a new period, when he is not even that clearly present to the community of the believers.  This is the time of the Holy Spirit, when Jesus is present most profoundly in the whispering of the Spirit in the hearts and minds of us who believe.

But as for the world?  Jesus sends us all, not just the hierarchy, to go out and preach the Good News to that world in his place and in his name.  And that Good News is that our lives are not meaningless or absurd, that death does not swallow all and end all, that we disappear from sight as Jesus did only to begin a new life where we will see him face to face and start to truly understand his goodness and his love for us.  The Good News is that our sinfulness in not the measure of our distance from God but the very place where his love reaches out to us.

Let us go forth then in joy, showing that the hope in which we live is indeed "Good News."

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