Gone but not Absent
(7th Sun. of Easter: Acts 1:12-14; 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11; OR Ascension: Acts 1:1-11; Ephesiens 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20)
Depending on where you live, you are today celebrating either the Ascension or the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Today’s reflection includes both.
We see Jesus at the end of his earthly career. Acts describes the Ascension, Matthew implies it. In John, Jesus says, “Now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”
Another theme is glory. On the Seventh Sunday, Jesus says: “Father, the hour has come... Now glorify me with the glory that I had with you before the world began.” On Ascension, St. Paul writes: “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.”
“Knowledge” occurs also on the Sunday: “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
And in both, Jesus speaks of his disciples. They have kept his word, he has been glorified in them, and will be empowered to become his witnesses, making disciples of all nations.
All this is reflected at La Salette. Mary appears in glory; she seeks to re-awaken her people to a knowledge of God. She commissions Mélanie and Maximin (and, later, La Salette Missionaries, Sisters and Laity) to spread her great news “to all my people.”
Jesus promised to be with his disciples, “until the end of the age.” The Beautiful Lady’s attentiveness to the details of the children’s lives shows that she is a faithful companion on our earthly pilgrimage.
As mentioned above, Acts describes the Ascension of Jesus: “He was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”
I always smile at how the children described Mary’s disappearance at the end of the Apparition. “She melted like butter in a frying pan,” they said. Various sources have “in a pot on the fire,” or “in soup.”
They never saw her again, but she never lost sight of them, or of us. If only we could recognize this and remember.
Wayne Vanasse and Fr. René Butler, M.S.