OUT OF SIGHT, NOT OUT OF TOUCH
Christianity is listed as one of the great world religions and bears resemblance to religions. Those who profess they are Christian have creeds that declare what their central beliefs are. There is structure in governance and sacred rituals. In all these things Christianity looks like one religion along with others like Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism to name a few but there are profound and significant differences that allow to be classified more as an experience than a religion. What is central to Christianity is the believers professing that here and now they experience personal contact with Christ. No other group of believers make this claim about the person central to the faith.
No other group of believers for that matter claim that the central figure to their faith was the deity in the flesh. No other group proclaim that the central figure died but rose to life in a new, transformed way. No other group claim that the central figure is alive and active in each and every believer completing the work the central figure began. No other group has sacred writings where the central figure demands so much personal acceptance of and attachment to him as is the case with Christians.
It was an experience that brought them together and gave them the drive to get out and proclaim their belief in Christ and invite others to share that belief with them. The experience was Jesus risen from the dead. He spent time with them, sharing meals, teaching and continuing the formation he began with them before he died.
This experience is recorded in the writings sacred to the followers. What is also recorded is that there came a time when Christ risen was seen and talked to no more. The writings record the event in different ways but a number speak of Jesus being lifted up and taken from the sight of the disciples. Once again , they experienced something that confirmed they would no longer see Jesus in the flesh. Exactly what it was we do not know but there was a moment when the disciples entered the phase we are living in now.
This phase is that Jesus is out of sight but not out of touch. We can no longer see him in the flesh but he is not absent or uninterested in us. This is the phase or age of the Church. Our Lord is touching us through the sacraments and the care we have for each other. Where we gather in his name He is there. He is no longer constrained to a presence that is just his risen and glorified body. Without losing his identity or absorbing ours he is alive and active in and through us.
His words to Mary Magdalene “do not cling to me because I have not yet ascended to the Father” are words for us not to cling to what we once had whether it is the risen physical presence of Our Lord or some experience from out past. We have not be abandoned by Him but we have to look for him in the ways that He is now present. We look now with the eyes of faith.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Jun 5, 2015||The Ascension of the Lord 17.05.2015||Listen||Download|