Christ’s Going and Coming
In Memoriam: First Lieutenant Andrew J. Bacevich
From a Homily of Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Ascension of the Lord:
The Lord says to us, mysteriously, that his going away and disappearing will also be a coming and an appearing: “I am going away, and I will come to you” (Jn 14:18). And to help us understand that his going away and coming are one and the same, he puts it even more clearly: “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you” (Jn 14:18-20).
His disappearance from the world begins with his Passion and ends with his Ascension. For since he was laid in the tomb, no worldly person, no one who lacks the Spirit of Christ, has seen him anymore. His coming to us, however, starts on Easter morning, where he meets one disciple after another; it continues throughout the Forty Days and is brought to its fulfillment at Pentecost, when he pours out his Spirit over the Church and thus fills her with his own innermost being.
It is not that his presence changes into his absence; what changes is the mode of his presence.
(You Crown the Year with Your Goodness [Ignatius Press])