Father Mark, Reflections

Are we there yet?

Ascension Day

I remember my children, when young, reminding me of my childhood, riding in the enclosed limited space of the back seat of a car on a long trip. Of course, “long,” is dependent on the point of view. I learned in Texas from my first church that “long” was not a three hour drive to San Antonio and back again after a two hour meeting at the Diocesan Office. People in other states are astounded when I would drive a distance and time like this which seemed normal to me.

Of course, as a child, being in the back seat, with a limited, space, mind and time span, anything over an hour felt like eternity. And as much as I hate to admit it, I think that you would join me in making a list of items for which we have difficulty waiting. The disciples were right along with us.

The Ascension Day readings in Luke-Acts (same author) have Jesus, in what ever mysterious way he did it, depart from the disciples. Before doing this, Jesus gives the disciples his last directives. In the midst of the conversation, more than one disciple asks him, “Is this the time? (…that you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”). Are we there yet?

You’ve got to be kidding! Jesus spends roughly three years with his disciples. Jesus dies, is raised from the dead, spends 40 days following with the disciples, nurturing and teaching them. And after five weeks and five days, the disciples still don’t get it. I wonder if Jesus ever rolled his eyes. Jesus is teaching them that the Advocate, Counselor, Holy Spirit, would come upon them and that they would become the Kingdom Bearers–the Temples of God–the Living Temples of God.

This goes to show us that one can be taught something ad infinitude. It is only when we experience the truth and reality of Jesus himself, that we even begin to understand what he is talking about. The disciples no longer asked the question, “Are we there yet?” after receiving the Presence and experience of the incarnated Jesus within them.

There was a story of two monks who traveled to the the foot of a mountain that they were to climb. As they observed the craggy rocks and heights of the majestic mountain, reflecting on the task ahead of them, an old monk joined them and simply said, “I suggest you just go up the mountain.” And up he went.

I spend way to much time wondering when am I going to get “there.” Wherever “there” is. Are we there yet? Jesus says, “I am here…now.” So what are we waiting for? Does this at all affect us in any way when we ask, “When will things return to “normal?”

Pentecost is coming. Not much more time to ask, “Are we there yet?” Jesus, permeate us with your Presence.

Fr. Mark