It was just a routine drive to Pittsburgh to see one of my doctors, but for some reason, that trip stayed in my memory. About halfway there, my mother turned to me and said, “If I weren’t here, would you know how to get to the doctor’s office by yourself?” A little panic rose up inside of me. I thought, “What do you mean if you’re not here? Of course you’re going to be here.” But deep down I realized my mother was trying to tell me that she wouldn’t be around forever. She wanted to be sure I knew how to get to the place to which we had traveled countless times since I was a toddler. But more than that, she wanted to be sure that I would be ok on my own---no matter where life would take me.
There comes a time when every parent and child, every coach and athlete, every teacher and student, every mentor and mentee must part. While there is sadness in parting, there is joy in knowing that the child, athlete, student and mentee are able to thrive on their own because of the formation they received from their parent/s, coach, teacher and mentor. This is the essence of what we celebrate today, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Physically, Jesus left the Apostles. But his Spirit remained. On this day, we commemorate the reality that Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, is within us, around us and amongst us, to nurture and guide us until the end of time.