December 5, 2023

Not all departures mean sadness. It can be a joyful anticipation of a beautiful homecoming. Jesus bade goodbye to his apostles. He ascended into heaven to prepare our home.
Jesus’ goodbye to his apostles for his death is not the same goodbye as he departed to the Father.
The death of Jesus caused the deepest grief of the apostles. Coupled with the deepest sorrow was the apostles’ disorientated and meaningless life. They were left alone, powerless, and defenseless. They had nobody to cling to. Their team leader was killed.
The death of Jesus was a departure that left pain and frustration. Death is indeed a painful reality not for the dead but to the bereaved.
Departure has a big impact on people. Imagine yourself in a situation where you have to accompany somebody to the airport and he leaves to the departure area and you have to say goodbye to one another. There is emptiness after one bade goodbye.
While on the plane, sadness starts while gazing down and those who send off gaze at the plane with heavy heart.
On Christmas season when the house is often loaded with laughter and happy conversation, suddenly each one leaves their respective families and workplaces, and loneliness and boredom overcome the house. There is a vacuum.
There is the old country song by Marty Robbins that says it well, “From this valley they say you are leaving. We shall miss your bright eyes and sweet smile. For you take with you all of the sunshine that has brightened our pathway a while.”
We see the timeline of Jesus, namely birth, baptism, public ministry, transfiguration, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension. It was a timeline with a beautiful climax.
“As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going to heaven’.” (Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11)
Jesus had been appearing to his apostles. On the 40th, he ascended to heaven to prepare a place for us. Indeed, the departure of Jesus from the earth will not make us sad but happy because his departing means a higher purpose. Jesus left the apostles literally but he gave the Holy Spirit to them. It was another beautiful assurance that the departure of Jesus was not a sheer goodbye. The ascension of Jesus marked his homecoming to his Father. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up to heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)
The timeline of Jesus must be our timeline too for a clear direction. When our timeline is in line with the timeline of Jesus, we are sure to overcome all challenges.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) It was a command that should not end among the apostles but to all the baptized.
The command of Jesus must continue especially in these trying moments.
One of the beautiful means I did as a priest to realize the command during this pandemic was doing music. Not to brag but to continue spreading the gospel, I was able to compose more than 100 Covid-19, Lenten, and Easter songs. The youth learned the songs and now singing them to uplift their fellow youth and the congregation.
It is our dream that these beautiful song compositions be recorded for learning and evangelizing purposes. Our poverty however is impeding the project. If it is God’s will that these songs be a part of his command, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel,” then he will be touching generous people to help in the studio recording. Happy Pentecost Sunday to all!
Reach me at [email protected] or 0908-727-6735.