Sunday, May 20, 2012


The Ascension, by Raffaele Caruana, in St Julian's Lapsi Church, Malta

Today we celebrate the feast of the Ascension, a celebration that has been transferred in many Dioceses to the 7th Sunday of Easter. This is the day that the Lord gave his final “Goodbye” to his followers, although it was more like a “So Long.” This feast has special memories for me as a child, because of a painting that was in my childhood parish, dedicated to the Ascension of Jesus. It was painted by the Maltese artist Raffaele Caruana (1820-1886.) As a child and especially as an altar-boy I frequently reflected on this painting, even connecting the faces of the apostles to men in the parish, whom they resembled. The actual church was dedicated to Saint Julian, the old parish church until 1969, but was always known as the Lapsi Church (Ascension Church.) The feast of the Ascension opens officially the swimming/summer season, and the weather usually warms up steadily from now on, although it was warm enough in late April this year, as I experienced myself.

The Ascension by John Singleton Copley (1775)
Another beautiful painting that I have treasured is the one by Copley. And as Jesus leaves us today, He is also empowering us to continue His work, as He did with the apostles 2 millennia ago. They have no let Him down, and neither did the many saints and holy people that have followed. Let us not let Him down, but continue this enticing relay race of Christianity, passing the proverbial baton to our children and children’s children, as our forefathers have done over the centuries.

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