In England the Solemnity of the Ascension is transferred to the following Sunday
Today we honour the memory of the Spanish Dominican Saint Vincent Ferrer – and not for nothing is he the patron saint of builders because he worked hard to build up and strengthen the Church during a very difficult time. He joined the Dominicans in 1374 and all he wanted to do was to preach the Gospel. He even turned down a cardinal’s hat in favour of becoming an Apostolic Missionary. He preached throughout Western Europe even as far as England, Scotland and Ireland. He died in 1419 and was canonised in 1455.
During the time of the great emigrations to the United States, many a destitute man left his family in the Old World in order to seek his fortune in the New World. It was a long and hazardous journey, filled with uncertainty and fear, and the pain was compounded for the man because he knew that his family would not only continue to live in utter poverty but that they would also be deeply saddened by his absence. Some of these stories had a happy ending in which the man did indeed make his fortune and was able to send for his family and give them a new and happy life in the United States.
Today’s gospel is taken from Our Lord’s discourse at the Last Supper. He was about to go on a journey and leave his disciples behind. But the journey was for their good, even though they couldn’t understand that fully at the time. Our Lord tried to assure them that they would grieve for a time but that their grief would be turned into joy. His journey was to be a passage through the awesome doors of death. This journey would lead him to the riches of everlasting life. These riches he wished to share with us. He went ahead to prepare a place for us.
Now we are following his lead in our journey through this life to everlasting life. We have a symbol of this journey in our communion procession as we approach the altar to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. This meeting with Our Lord in the Eucharist is a sign of what is in store for us when we complete life’s journey at the moment of death and are welcomed by Christ into our heavenly home.