+ In our gospel passage today Jesus addresses the obvious intensive relationship that he enters into with us by means of his ascension into heaven. He has already explained to the disciples why it is better that he goes from them, so that the Spirit can come – who will be permanent and will fill the membership of the Church and guide and direct it until the end of time; but in a gentle and compassionate kind of way Jesus addresses those who have become his close friends and confidants: they are sad because of the physical separation: they will not be able to see him any more as they are accustomed to. And this is true, not as they are accustomed to, but they will still be able to see him quite well with the eyes of faith; they will experience his nearness even better than before because he will now reside deeply within their hearts, and he will walk with them in a very real and supportive kind of way.
It really is the same for us who have become separated from our loved ones in death. The physical separation can be enormous; but the new presence of the loved one can be even greater than the previous one: with the eyes of faith; for there truly can be a new awareness, a new presence, a new closeness, and new experience of being saturated with the person’s love: this ought very much help in the grieving process that is always a part of such loss. But just as the ascension of Jesus is rightly considered a loss and a greater gain, so too can be the loss of our family and friends be considered the same.
We love you Jesus who has gone yet stayed; we love you family, friends who have done the same.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our King, sing praise.