On this feast of the Ascension, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli reflects on Jesus' return to his heavenly home, and how his return enables us to draw even closer to God the Father. It is a timely reminder as the Catholic Church celebrates World Communications Day, the theme of which is “come and see”, which Pope Francis says was part of the first encounters between Jesus and the disciples, and remains the method for all authentic human communication today. Archbishop Comensoli also asks that we pray for all chaplains today who, by their pastoral accompaniment with those who suffer, extend Jesus' invitation to know and love him.
'Hello friends. Today we celebrate the great feast of the Ascension of Jesus to his Father, that we might then receive the gift to the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. So we're moving very quickly to the concluding parts of our wonderful season of Easter. The Ascension of the Lord can sometimes seem like mysterious and strange reality. The Lord has risen. He is amongst his people. Why then does he need to return to the Father? Certainly we understand that this enables the sending of the Holy Spirit, but I think there is also another part to that. And I've got here my phone open because I'm going to read to you just a bit from one of the great saints of our church: "Jesus had not lifted his Father when he came down to earth, nor had he abandoned his disciples when He ascended."
I like that image. The father did not lose his son when Jesus came to be with us here in his earthly life. Likewise, neither do we lose him, now that he's ascended back to the Father, in his heavenly and divine reality. So it's that sense in which which the Lord is with us always that I want to just share with you today.
And for that reason we can very much say, "Come and see." Let the Lord continue to come into our lives. Let us go to him and see where he lives. That beautiful image of the invitation to be a part of the Lord's life: to come and see, is also a part of this Sunday being Communications Sunday in the life of our church. Pope Francis has given that theme, "Come and see" - the words of Jesus to the disciples when he was first calling them. And might they be also words that reach out to us today in the Lord's ascension back to the Father. He opens for us the possibility to come and see him in his divine life, in his heavenly home, through the life that we might live in the Spirit of God.
On this Sunday also we recognise the many chaplains, both ordained and lay chaplains who work in our hospitals, prisons, for seafarers and in all sorts of other ways, and we honor them in the work that they do, the service they bring, allowing others to come and see Jesus in the circumstances of their pain or suffering, isolation, or whatever way in which a chaplain might be reaching out to someone.
So on this Ascension day, when the Father welcomed his Son and opened for us the path to come and see him throughout our lives, might we also remember those who reach out to those who are struggling, and in whatever way, that they might also be honored today.'
Melbourne Catholic13 April 2022
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli02 February 2022