Chaplain's News

Be well, do good work and keep in touch! Would be the advice Jesus leaves with us his followers on this feast of the Ascension. This triple charge, invites us who believe in him, to bond to others and with themselves in a belief in him. He tells them and us, to keep in touch with him and with one another and with those with whom we move and have our being.

The Lord further gives his followers the following tasks. To tell the good news in all countries and cultures, and to bring them to an awareness of God' creative and saving presence in their lives and illumine their lives with teaching, healing, listening and listening, and thus bringing the entire creation into God's divine milieu.

The Ascension of the Lord does not mean that at the end of his earthly career on earth, Christ literally ascended into heaven in a way described in the Acts of the Apostles. The description of this ascent would be similar to Elijah like ascent in the book of Kings. This imagery signals the truth that the one who crucified on trumped up charges of a political Messiah, a rebel against Rome, does not abandon his saving mission on earth, but continues to be a saving presence of hope in the community.

Each one exists to build up this community to the full stature or the fullness humanity, modelled by the risen Lord, in accordance with the original design of the Creator.

But the feast of the Ascension is not just an opportunity for us to look back on how we have tried to fulfil the command of the Lord to go out to the world. Indeed, this feast is primarily focused on where we are going from here on in.

The Ascension promises us that just as the Father raised Jesus from the dead, so too the Father, Son and Spirit will welcome us into heaven as well, to be at Christ's right hand for eternity. This parable demonstrates the point.

In 1939 a father and son were famous art collectors. When World War II broke out, the son volunteered. In 1944 the son died in battle while rescuing another soldier. A year later, a young man came to see the father. 'Sir, you don't know me but I was with your son when he died. I want you to know he didn't suffer.'

'I know you both loved art, and though this isn't much, I want you to have it.' He gave the father a package. Inside was a portrait of the son. It was rough work, but the father welled up with tears. 'It was the least I could do for your son because he saved my life.'

A few months later, the father died. At the art auction which followed, investors gathered from around the world. The first item up for bid was the portrait of the son.

The auctioneer tried to start the bidding, '$200 … $100 … Any bids? Any at all?' The investors called out, 'Skip this one. Where are the Rembrandts?' Just then a man spoke up from the back. 'I'll give you ten dollars for the painting. It's all the money I have.' It was the gardener at the father's estate. So the auctioneer brought down his gavel. 'Sold for ten dollars!' An investor called back, 'Can we now get on with it?'

But the auctioneer continued, 'The auction is over. According to the will, whoever bought this painting would inherit the estate, including all the art.'

No matter what they said the wealthy investors couldn't buy their way into the inheritance. Only the one who had the eyes of love, and knew what he was looking at, inherited everything the Father and Son had to offer.

An excerpt from Henri Nouwen, ''The Return of the Prodigal Son" - A story of Homecoming:

"The question is not 'How am I to find God?' but 'How am I to let myself be found by Him?' The question not 'how am I to know God' but 'how am I to let myself be known by God.' And finally, the question is not 'how am I to love God?' but how am I to let myself being loved by God?'

Michael Leunig's 'A Common Prayer' Prayer for Balance: Dear God, We pray for balance and exchange. Balance us like trees. As the roots of a tree shall equal its branches so must the inner life be equal to the outer life. And as the leaves shall nourish the roots so shall the roots give nourishment to the leaves. Without equality and exchange of nourishment there can be no growth and no love. Amen.

Fr Gaetan Pereira
College Chaplain