You may have seen this on the evening news. The setting is a graduation, a wedding, an elementary school. A father who has been away from home for a long time has returned home secretly and waits out of sight, unknown to his child, who believes that his Dad is still away. And, at the perfect moment, Dad comes out of hiding. Cameras roll as the unsuspecting child recognizes him and runs to embrace him, tears of joy streaming down his face.
Can it have been any different for Jesus when he returned home to perfect union with His beloved Father? Separated from Him and clothed in flesh for 33 years, Jesus struggled with the human limitations of His followers as He did His best to reveal to them His own identity and that of His Father. He cried over the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the death of His friend Lazarus. He dealt with exhaustion, hunger, thirst and rejection (“Will you also leave me?”). The Transfiguration most certainly revealed Jesus’ glory to Peter, James and John, but did it not also console Jesus and strengthen him for the terrible ordeal that was to come?
And now, all was accomplished. He was going home.
In the paintings of the Ascension done by the great masters, we see Jesus, human body glorified and healed, surrounded by the angels and the glory of heaven. The clouds are painted with beautiful shades, the Father is seated on a glorious throne, the prophets and saints are present and clothed in splendor, and the light streams from above and falls on all who are witnessing the scene of Christ’s return. But the greatest wonder of this event cannot be captured by any human work of art. Jesus and His Father are reunited in perfect love. And their home will also be our home someday.
Welcome home Jesus. Draw us after you!
~by Sister Eileen Dunbar, OSB