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Feast of the Ascension, Year A – 2023

The anecdote is well known of the space exploration of a Russian cosmonaut.
Returning to earth he said with deep conviction and absolute certainty:
“There is no God – I’ve been up there, and I didn’t see any sign of God!”

No wonder, could we reply, because God is NOT ‘up there’!
Of course, in the past, many people have been instructed in this way.
Preachers, and teachers of religion, would point to the sky when they mentioned God.
This familiar gesture towards the clouds was meant to describe ‘another world’.
Nowadays it is sometimes referred to as ‘another dimension’.

We celebrate today the feast of the Ascension.
The gospel text of our celebration (Matthew 28:16-20) is very short and does not describe what happened to Jesus on that day.
The other gospel writers – Mark and Luke – add something to the text of Matthew, telling us:

“The Lord Jesus… was taken up to heaven”.  (Mark 16:19)
“As he (Jesus) blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven”.  (Luke 24:51)

What the apostles see is Jesus going up and disappearing in the clouds.
This description given to us refers to the experience of Jesus’ friends:
Jesus has left them… for good – this is what they are meant to understand.
He will no longer appear to them from time to time as he has been doing since he came back to life.

They are not to imagine that Jesus is hiding behind a cloud!
What they are to believe is what he has told them on the eve of his death:

“In a short time, the world will no longer see me: but you will see me…
On that day, you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.”   (John 14:19-20)

The Ascension is the beginning of “that day”…
The day when we celebrate NOT a departure but a new way of being present!

Another text is available on a different theme, in French at:


Source: Image: pexels (Nikita)


Feast of the Nativity of the Lord, Year A – 2022-2023

Many are the texts offered to us during the festive season of the Nativity.
And the figures, or characters, that we meet in the different scenes are also many.

Through all this, one aspect strikes me as very interesting.
It is the fact that so many of the people are… on the move!
People are… displaced, so too speak.

 Mary and Joseph must leave Nazareth to go and register themselves in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-5).
The shepherds leave the place where they watch over their flock to find a new-born child (Luke 2:8-20).
The Magi set on a long journey to find the new king born in a distant land (Matthew 2:1-12).

As I look at them all, I wonder if Christmas is not precisely this: a celebration of… displacement!
A period, a blessed moment, when we accept to be uprooted to reach another place…

Nowadays, many have to accept a painful departure into the unknown…
Some people are forced from their homes and must start a long journey of migration…
So many people of different nations make the experience of ‘diaspora’ – being strangers into foreign lands…

For many of us the displacement, the movement, will not be geographical, but no less real.
We need to move from self-complacency to a more authentic living…
We have to abandon our old certainties to find new ways of understanding, of being…
We must leave our egoistic attitudes to pay attention to the needs of those around us…

This journey cannot be described in terms of steps, stations, or kilometers.
But it will involve leaving what is familiar and accept to be… displaced by God.
He – God-with-us – will bring us to the place he has meant for us –
the place of true happiness and deep peace which we long for…

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: 


Source: Images:   Pinterest