This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, when Jesus Christ in the presence of his followers, ascended into Heaven. People often ask the question, ‘but where is Heaven?’. In the past we had a rather simplistic idea, that earth was here and heaven was somewhere up there in the clouds. We thought of heaven as almost a physical place and people often asked how so many people could fit there?
We are now more aware that the size of the Universe is beyond what the human mind can grasp or even imagine. Like God the Universe is total mystery. No amount of travel will bring us to Heaven!
Christ, our God, came among us in human form to teach us the way to live and in this way to find Heaven. He asked his followers to bring his message to the ends of the earth. After two thousand years of Christianity, we still struggle to live from day to day and to remain healthy. We can achieve little on our own.
God recognizes our limitations and our helplessness. So, he sent Jesus to guide and help us. Jesus came as one like us to show us the way to God and to lead us to God. After his life, death and resurrection he ascended to the Father. He assures us that he is not leaving us alone. Where he has gone, we hope to follow. He has gone ‘to prepare a place for us.’ So, we are not to be troubled. As Jesus said, ‘there are many rooms in my Father’s house’.
It’s a question of faith. Jesus tells us that we now possess the glory of God as his gift and when our earthly life is over, he will come to meet us and welcome us home to God’s kingdom. In the meantime, we live in hope.
For our earthly life, we live under the power of the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. We are Christ’s presence in the world, tending the garden of the Lord. We enjoy his gifts of nature, the Eucharist, the Scriptures and the love of our family and our community. Where two or three of us gather in his name he is with us in a special way.