Departing, He Comes to Us

As complement to David Gibson's post on the Lord's Resurrection, here, from the "Epilogue" to volume two of Jesus of Nazareth, is some of Pope Benedict's meditation on the Ascension.

Jesus led his followers into the vicinity of Bethany, we are told. "Lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven" (Lk 24:50&51). Jesus departs in the act of blessing. He goes while blessing, and he remains in that gesture of blessing...The gesture of hands outstretched in blessing expresses Jesus' continuing relationship to his disciples, to the world. In departing he comes to us, in order to raise us up above ourselves, and to open up the world to God. That is why the disciples could return home from Bethany rejoicing. In faith we know that Jesus holds his hands stretched out in blessing over us. That is the lasting motive of Christian joy.

Sursum corda!

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

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