Our parish celebrated the 11:30 Mass for the Ascension yesterday with the baptism of an infant and a 3-year-old (cousins) - immersion baptisms with the whole community gathered around the font to welcome them. Embracing one another in love, baptizing in the name of the Trinity - these are important actions and appropriate affirmations of everything that Christ left us to do when he ascended to the Father.
As the children were dressed after the baptisms and the altar was prepared for Eucharist, we sang "God is Here" by David Haas, which is rapidly becoming a parish favorite. A great evocation of the presence of God in all that we are, have and do, one of the song's lines is "the truth that you long for is not found in the sky" - which made it perfect for the Ascension.
Why do so many people still stand there "looking at the sky" - hoping for help from a God who is "up there" "at a distance" remotely watching over us? This very typical American understanding makes it possible for people to live their lives independently, only remembering to praise God on Sundays or consult God when they feel a particular need. It also makes it possible to feel that God is a lurker, watching their every move, lying in wait to "catch" them in sin. Neither understanding is particularly helpful.
When we continue to act without reflection, we run the risk of losing our sense of God's plan for us and become more and more distant from who God wants us to be. With the help of daily reflection on the actions of our life, we are less likely to think of God as distant, and more likely to proclaim that "God is here." If you are not familiar with Jesuit spirituality, I suggest you check out the resources at http://ignatianspirituality.com/ .