Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Ascension of the Lord.
In Jerusalem, several churches commemorate the ascension of Jesus into heaven, as witnessed by apostles. One of the most popular is the Chapel of the Ascension, locate on top of the Mount of Olives.
A Byzantine church in honor of the Ascension was constructed on this site about 390 A.D. by a Christian woman named Poimenia. The open-air church was said to contain a stone with the imprint of the footprint of Jesus.
The Persians destroyed the church about 614 A.D., but it was later restored by St. Modestus of Jerusalem. Crusaders rebuilt the church about 1150. But by the end of the 12th century, the Muslim general, Saladin, had captured the church and converted it into a mosque.
The chapel remains a holy site for Christians and Muslims who acknowledge the ascension of Jesus, and who continue to occupy the site.
The walls in the courtyard of the Chapel of the Ascension are lined with hooks. Pilgrims would use the hooks to stretch tents when they came to celebrate the feast of the Ascension.
In the United States, most diocese transfer the celebration of the feast of the Ascension to the following Sunday.
Jesus said: “In a little while the world will not longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.” (Jn 14: 19)
Everybody feels alone as some time.
The first time you’re homesick is one of the loneliest experiences in live. Or when you’re a parent and you’re children leave home. Or the first time you’re alone in the dark in the woods. Or when you spend the night at the hospital. Even though the hospital staff takes good care of you, it is a lonely moment. You’d like a friend or family member there, to talk to, to be with you.
Today Jesus tells me that he doesn’t ever want me to be alone. Picture him saying: “I’m going to be with you. Even more closely than I have been before. So don’t feel alone.
“I’m going to ask the Father to send me in a new way through the Spirit. This Spirit will breathe in you and will envelop you like the aroma of perfume.
“The Spirit will be above you and below you and next to you. It will be with you in the loneliest hours of the night or in the thick of the crowd.
“I will be there if you are a sinner and I will be there if you are a saint. I will be there in good times and in bad. I will embrace you. Always.”
No exception. No fine print. He’ll be there. I can count on it.