Fr Thomas’ Reflection for The Ascension of the Lord

The Body will Follow the Head

Whenever the leader of a movement passes on, the question in the minds of all those concerned would be “what next?’.  Ascension of the Lord is a feast that relates to a similar question: what next for the disciples of Jesus after he has gone from the face of earth. In answer, Jesus told them two things.  First of all “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation”.  Then about those who believe in him as Christ he said this.   “These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover”.  That means the Disciples of Christ will be known as people who are capable of liberating their fellow human beings from anything that would diminish their God given dignity.  The ‘gift of tongues’ is the ability of the disciples to empathise with people.  They will offer comforting words to those who are not understood or not listened to by the society. It is not so much the poison of snakes that would harm the human life now;  It is the ideologies and movements of hatred, violence other evils that are more damaging.  For a while the world thought the evil of paedophilia that rocked the Church, the Body of Christ, will finish it off.  But we see the Spirit of God helping the Church root out those evils and rejuvenate the Christian lie.  Now we see the powerful Bishops Conference of Germany on the verge of a schism through their unilateral decision to bless same sex couples.  Such schisms are poisons the true disciples are made to drink.  Just as Arianism and other schisms which rocked the church, could not kill the Body of Christ, this schism also will be overcome by the Church.

Therefore, you are not to stand there staring into the sky as if you lost everything.  You, as disciples of Jesus are filled with the Holy Spirit.  Acknowledging the healing power the Disciples of Christ are blessed with, Pope Francis is promoting ‘Synodality’ in the Universal Church.  It means the Holy Father wants all those who are chosen by the Holy Spirit to lead the Church to put their hands and minds together to heal humanity, particularly the Body of Christ, wherever that is necessary.  Also know that Jesus will come again; that will be through you Christians who make up the living Body of Christ on earth. Where the head, Jesus, has gone, the Body of which you are members will follow.