We, who have lost a loved one, know that their “spirit” often lives on long after their death. Certain situations will trigger our memory of them. Recalling what they said or did, we are inspired to live up to the legacy they have left us. In this way their presence continues through our words and actions.
We might well imagine the disciples overwhelming sense of grief and absence when Jesus ascended into heaven. As time will tell, Jesus’ absence will really mark the beginning of a new kind of presence. We, his followers, are commissioned to preach that suffering and death lead to new life and that forgiveness will be granted to all who seek forgiveness. His ascension is our commission because we are now His presence on earth.
His very absence calls us to be and do as Jesus. To put another’s needs above our own desires; to seek amends when forgiving another or letting go of grudges. And we don’t do this on our own, we are gifted with the very power of the Holy Spirit. Having experienced God’s saving action, we can be that saving action for others.