Saturday, May 31, 2014

This Jesus...Shall Return

Niccolò di ser Sozzo, Ascension in an Initial "V"

During my last visit to New Orleans, my little great-niece and I spent some time talking about Meemaw (my Mom). Five-year-old Leah still remembers and misses her. "Me, too," I said. "But we'll see her again when Jesus comes back."

Leah's eyes widened as she asked, stupefied at the very thought, "Jesus is coming back?!!!"

Even though we recite the Creed every Sunday, I don't often really meditate on the fact of Christ's return. Can I admit it? I really need the liturgical cycle with its punctuating feasts to remind me of key realities of the faith. Catholics in general don't seem to have a reputation for being real big on the Second Coming, even though we pray about it in every Mass! Years ago, when Sister Bridget in our recording studio was getting the tracks ready for a new album, a technician who came to help with the equipment looked at the sheet music: "My Lord Will Come Again." The visitor, an Adventist, looked over quizzically: "You mean Catholics believe in the Second Coming?"

This amazing manuscript depiction of the Ascension (celebrated here in the UK on Sunday), inspires me to think about that "blessed hope."

Typically in paintings of the Ascension, you see just a pair of feet jutting out of a cloud at the top of the canvas; Jesus about to disappear from sight. Here, though, he might just be making the return trip.

Unlike the Apostles, Mary is not gazing up into the sky. In fact, her stance seems more in keeping with an Annunciation, where she is receiving Christ. When Christ comes again, will I, too, be ready to receive Him?

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