|Our seminarians enjoy the sunshine |
on a Good Friday afternoon.
If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
Parents who love their children are usually sad when they see them go off to college, but that doesn't stop them from encouraging their children to "Go and study hard!" We would say the same for anyone who has done well and is moving on to higher places, whether it's a mayor who runs for governor or a priest ordained as a bishop. Though we feel sad at their absence and will miss their immediate leadership, we wish them all the best.
Jesus has won the victory over sin and death and God his Father calls him to sit at his right hand. "Go with God!" we will say to him on Ascension Thursday.
But there are deeper dimensions to this gospel, as there always deeper dimensions in the Gospel of Saint John. On Easter Sunday, after greeting the Magdalene with unutterable kindness, "Mary!" he will say, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
Sometimes our loved ones must disappoint us. Those children must set out for their own lives, with their own careers and, God willing, their own families. They were given to their parents for a little while, but not forever. Christian parents willingly, if sadly, let them go.
God will also disappoint us -- often. We think we know how we should be loved; we think we know what we need. But God is not a sugar daddy; nor is his son a slave to our desires.
As Jesus returns to his Father he reminds us that we must Let God be God. That means we cannot control the outcomes of our projects or the decisions, attitudes or feelings of others.
We pray for God's Holy Spirit to guide us; we act according to the lights we're given; and we let the chips fall where they will. No one can see the Big Picture. That is God's providence. We can only pray daily, "Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. '