“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today is the traditional feast of the Ascension, even if we live in a diocese where its celebration is moved to Sunday. Preparing the disciples for his Ascension, Jesus reminds them that they have all been witnesses to his passion, death, and resurrection. Afterwards, trudging back to Jerusalem together without him, their sense of loss must have been immense. They would yet come to know that witness and martyr are the same. And so the transition began. Eyewitnesses would give way to witnesses in generation after generation through history.
We are born into relationship and know Jesus because we were bequeathed the witness of those before us. We now hold that sacred trust. Do we hold it in the same esteem as those who handed it to us? Will our children and theirs to come know Jesus better from the witness of our lives? Saint Doubting Thomas pray for us.
—Jim O’Donnell is a long-serving deacon at Gesu Church, University Heights, OH. He is also a University Hospitals physician specializing and leading a research team in nuclear medicine.
Life-giving God, make us joyful in the ascension of Jesus Christ. One day may we follow him into the new creation, for his ascension is our glory and our hope. Praise and glory to you, Holy God, now and always. Amen.
—adapted from the Roman SacramentaryPlease share the Good Word with your friends!