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Sunday 17th May

The Ascension has to do with leave-taking. Christ’s last words to his disciples and his final instructions and words of teaching are, like all last words, considered particularly important.

The ascension of Christ marks his liberation from the restraints of time and place. It does not mean his removal from the earth, but his constant presence everywhere on earth. In his commission to his followers, in his presence in sacrament and sign and in the presence of the Spirit who is to be sent, Christ remains present to those who have faith to believe, eyes to see and ears to hear.

The commission of the disciples to go out into the world is given afresh to each one of us at the end of Mass. The mandate of the serious Christian is the mandate of Christ, given to his church in the persons of the early apostles.

Christ wishes us above all to believe; to have faith in his identity as son of God. Nothing in the world impressed Christ except faith. He wants all peoples to be brought to faith in the Good News of our liberation from the tyranny of death. He wants us to show our faith by sign and sacrament by preaching and teaching, by healing and restoring.

In all accounts of Jesus final talks with his disciples, he wishes and prays for the same things. He asks them to be and to remain holy so that they might sanctify others. He asks them to be united as he is united within the Trinity, and he asks them to be (earthenware) vessels of his presence in the world.

As Jesus returns to the Father, he takes with him our human nature, united to his own. He gives us a dignity and a promise which we could never aspire to, left to ourselves.

The Ascension of Christ makes way for the coming of the Advocate and the indwelling presence of Christ in the church and in the person of each believer who truly lives in Christ.