So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.
They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." (Acts 1:1-11).
Within Luke's overarching vision of history, the ascension marks a key turning point from when the risen Christ was present visibly to one group of disciples gathered in and around Jerusalem to his being present among his disciples everywhere.
In each community that he visited, Luke wanted to affirm that the risen Jesus had both left them – in the sense that they could not directly see him: 'he was taken from their sight' – but also that he was no longer confined to one place, one group or one moment. After the Ascension, he was there in the community now gathered and listening to Luke.
This year most of us cannot gather in big assemblies. We must celebrate in small groups if you are in lockdown with family or friends, or you are alone.
But the risen Lord's presence is not confined: he is with you in lockdown – and there is no more appropriate moment to experience this anew than on Ascension Day!
There is no more appropriate day in the whole liturgical year to remember the presence of the Christ among us.