My Grandma Tuckerman (I don’t think I knew that her name was Betty until I was 17) was a woman whose life revolved around Jesus. She woke up early to read the Holy Scriptures in time she called “My quiet time with Jesus,” she would punctuate every sentence about anything that was good or pleasant with the phrase, “It’s God good?” or “Praised be Jesus!”, and she took every opportunity to tell her children or us grandchildren that “I love you… and Jesus!” She loved going to church and she would often be found singing hymns to God when she was by herself or in the kitchen. She worked to keep God’s loving presence always in mind and she credited the small book “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection as being a great help. As a result, no one had any doubt that she loved my grandpa, her five children and many grandchildren, but that Jesus was clearly her best friend.
Really, that is what Jesus’ abiding presence in the Eucharist is all about. It is important for us to honor Him there, to not forget that He is Almighty God who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. However, He makes himself present to us in a physical way and remains in the tabernacle at the parish because He wants to be present to us, to be our best friend! He wants us to have a place that we can come and not simply remember that He is there always, but a special place just to be with Him. If my grandmother, who was not Catholic, had known of this, I have no doubt she would have made a daily visit to her greatest love. Many Catholics for this very reason make even short stops to their parish to spend some time with Jesus in the Tabernacle - to say hello to their best friend!
As we recall and celebrate Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven today, let us rejoice with the joy of the Apostles that Jesus also never left - He remains with us in the Holy Eucharist! What a beautiful way to grow in our own friendship with him and to remember him always by spending time with Our Beloved when we can, before and after Holy Mass, but any time!
May God bless you abundantly with a great love and joy in Jesus!