Coming full circle
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, ‘coming full circle’. One example of coming full circle would be the example of a family selling a home generations ago but just recently things have come full circle and one of their descendants lives there now.
On this feast of the Ascension of Jesus we celebrate that fact that Jesus has come full circle. In the beautiful beginning of St. John’s gospel we read,’ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God….…and the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only son….he came unto his own and his own received him not.’
In his letter to Philippians put this coming full circle of Christ in these words, ’Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus who, though his nature was divine, did not consider equality with God as something to be clung to, but emptied himself taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human likeness he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross – therefore God has highly exalted him and gave him a name above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is lord to the glory of God the Father.’
The resurrection of Jesus and his ascension into heaven are all one great event. The church separated them in order that it might contemplate more deeply the meaning of these two aspects of this single, invisible event.
In his ascension Jesus returns to the Father and the Holy Spirit, he has come full circle. You and I are at the centre of that circle. In the creed at this Mass we say the words, ‘for us and for our salvation he came down from heaven.’ For us Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, for us Jesus became one like us in all things though he did not sin. For us Jesus came to his own people with the message of God’s love for them. For us Jesus brought God’s love for all of us as he gave sight to the blind, called cripples to walk, stretched out his hand to lepers, touch them and make them clean, for us Jesus raised the dead, for us Jesus became the Good Shepherd who would lay down his life for his sheep, for us Jesus gave us his body and blood as the nourishment of our souls. Jesus showed us that no one can have greater love than this, to lay down his friends.
Each one of us will come full circle when accept and fully live the life that is ours through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. We come full circle when we see in every person we meet, regardless of faith, nationality or life style, a brother or sister redeemed and love by Christ, just as we are, We come full circle when we come to live our lives not longer for ourselves but for Jesus as we meet him and reach out to him in the hungry and homeless, in the sick and the stranger, in the victims of the senseless violence we see every day. We come full circle when we try to make our own the words of St. Paul, ‘I live, no longer I but Christ lives in me and the life I live I live it trusting in the son of God who loved me and gave his life for me. We will all come full circle when we hear the welcoming words of the Risen Lord, ‘come blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world for I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you made me welcome, naked and you clothed me, sick and in prison and you came to me’. We will come full circle when Christ says to each of us, ’you were always there for me, now I am here for you.’