MT 28: 16-20

Do you feel the urge to come home from time to time? And what about your feelings then? For most people, there will be excitement, warmth, and jubilation in seeing family, friends and old acquaintances. We see this too often in people who work abroad for long stretches of time. Coming home is an event they dream about with great anticipation.

What does it mean for Jesus to finally return home, to return to the embrace of his Father, to reign together with him in his kingdom? The Lord Jesus made it clear that he came from the Father and will return to him (Jn 16:5). His kingdom exists, not in this world, but in another plane (Jn 18:36). Preaching the Kingdom all through his ministry, the Lord exposed not only the reign of God but the heart of his loving Father, even if this meant scandalizing the people around him.

The Lord always gave glimpses of his Father, images and thoughts never before known in Israel. He shared his intimate relationship of love, fidelity and dedication to the Father. In doing so, he revealed to people the true face of the Father who is full of love, mercy and compassion; so far from the tyrannical monarch and wrathful judge that prevailed in the minds of people.

As Jesus returns to the Father in this mystery of the Ascension, I could not help but think how he felt at that moment. Parting from his disciples must have been difficult and painful for him too; that was why he assured them of his eternal presence. But returning to the Father must have been a tremendous feeling of unparalleled joy; to see his Father’s face, to feel his warm embrace, to spend the rest of his days beside the One who called him “my Beloved.”

But what does Jesus’ Ascension mean for us? We know that his earthly mission ended as our own commences. We know that though unseen, his presence will be just as powerful and tangible through the Spirit he promised us. But there is another aspect of the Ascension the Lord wants us to know and yearn for.

One day, we will also return home to the Father in order for us to savor the same love and intimacy Jesus now has in heaven with him. The Father’s embrace is waiting for us, too, not because we are perfectly loyal and consummately good, but because like the prodigal son, we realize our need of his forgiveness and love. Let us ask the Lord Jesus, the loyal son, to help us, the prodigal children, so live as to be able one day to experience the joy of homecoming to the Father, the loving and merciful One.