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I am going now to prepare a place for you …

It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of home. When things fail, when we feel tired and lonely, there is always home to go. ‘Let’s go home.’ ‘I want to go home.’ How many times and in how many different circumstances have we heard people say those words, or have said them to us.

Home is where we are safe. Home is a place of communion. If you know you’re going home the trip is never too long or too difficult. We must go out into the world to know how lovely our own home is. Imagine if we had no home to go to.

But to have a home is not just to have a house. It is also to have a set of close ties with people who accept us for what we are, and who gives us a feeling on belonging. Conversely, not to have a home is not just failing to have a house, but not having a set of close ties with people who accept us for what we are. In spite of all the buildings we put up and roots we put down, here on earth we do not have a lasting home. We have as St. Paul says, ‘a kind of tent. At death the tent is folded up.’ (2 Cor. 5:1)

Hence, it is not only on earth that we need a home. We also need a home to go to when our life and journey ends on earth. Without such a home life would be a journey of nowhere.

During the last Supper Jesus began to talk to the apostles about the fact that he was leaving them. On hearing this, they were plunged into sorrow. But he consoled them with these words, which are probably the loveliest words of the Gospel: ‘there are many rooms in my Father’s house. I am going to prepare a place for you. I shall return and take you with me; so that you where I am you may be too.’

For us too, as we prepare to celebrate the Ascension of Christ, the same message of hope and consolation is presented to us. Christ is not leaving us as orphans, but he goes before us to prepare a place for us. This means that we have an eternal home to go to – the Father’s home.

For a child, home is not so much a place as a relationship of love and trust. A child can move around a lot and not feel homeless, as long as its parents are there. It is the same for those who have a close relationship with God. We spend our lives searching for God, and groping our way towards him. To die is to find him, to meet him, and to see him. To die is to go to God, and to go to God is to go home.

Fr. Odinaka


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