THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD:
ITS SIGNIFICANCE AND REPERCUSSIONS IN OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE.
In the 1st reading of today’s Mass, the Acts of the Apostles recount the last apparition and last instructions of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth before ascending into heaven:
“’It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ WHEN HE HAD SAID THIS, AS THEY WERE LOOKING ON, HE WAS LIFTED UP, AND A CLOUD TOOK HIM FROM THEIR SIGHT (Acts 1:7-9).”
St Luke, in his Gospel, added: “LIFTING UP HIS HANDS HE BLESSED THEM. WHILE HE BLESSED THEM, HE PARTED FROM THEM, AND WAS CARRIED UP INTO HEAVEN (Lk 24:50-51).”
WHAT DOES OUR LORD’S ASCENSION SIGNIFY? With Our Lord’s Ascension into heaven, He once more demonstrates that He is God. His humanity is glorified with His Ascension. The Catechism teaches us that:
- “Christ’s Ascension marks the DEFINITIVE ENTRANCE OF JESUS’ HUMANITY INTO GOD’S HEAVENLY DOMAIN, whence he will come again (cf. Acts 1:11)…
- As “the head of the Church”, Jesus “PRECEDES US INTO THE FATHER’S GLORIOUS KINGDOM so that WE, THE MEMBERS OF HIS BODY, MAY LIVE IN THE HOPE OF ONE DAY BEING WITH HIM FOR EVER…”
- Moreover, Our Lord Jesus Christ, “having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, INTERCEDES CONSTANTLY FOR US AS THE MEDIATOR WHO ASSURES US OF THE PERMANENT OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 665-667).”
At the same time, Our Lord upon opening the minds of the Apostles to understand the scriptures and that all that has been written about Him in the law of Moses and the prophets have to be fulfilled told them in the Gospel of St. Luke:
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and THAT REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS SHOULD BE PREACHED IN HIS NAME TO ALL NATIONS, BEGINNING FROM JERUSALEM. YOU ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS. 49 And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high (Lk 24:46–48).”
He instructed the Apostles to be his witnesses not only in Jerusalem but all throughout the world, giving them thus their APOSTOLIC MISSION, as narrated also by St. Mark: “GO INTO THE WHOLE WORLD AND PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE. WHOEVER BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED WILL BE SAVED; WHOEVER DOES NOT BELIEVE WILL BE CONDEMNED (Mk 16:15-16).”
Our Lord’s Ascension into heaven has REPERCUSSIONS in our daily Christian life:
- It CONFIRMS and STRENGTHENS OUR FAITH IN THE DIVINITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, Perfect God-Perfect Man.
- By virtue of our Baptism, WE, CHRISTIANS, ARE ALSO CALLED TO BE CHRIST’S WITNESSES in our surroundings and CALLED AS WELL TO DO APOSTOLATE with the people around us. APOSTOLATE CONSISTS IN BRINGING SOULS CLOSER TO CHRIST through our prayer, our sacrifices, our good example, our timely and amiable understanding and advices and sincere friendship wherever God has placed us.
- It should inspire us to “LOOK INTENTLY AT THE SKY (Acts 1:10)”, that is, to DIRECT OUR GAZE TOWARDS THE SUPERNATURAL AND LIFT OUR HEARTS AND OUR SPIRIT TO HEAVEN, SEEKING AND LOVING “THE THINGS OF THE ABOVE” WHILE WE CARRY OUT OUR DAILY ORDINARY ACTIVITIES, thereby, FOSTERING the virtue of HOPE, that one day, with God’s grace, WE SHALL BE UNITED WITH HIM. This is nothing but living a CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORLD.
As St. Josemaria wrote: “I will never share the opinion — though I respect it — of those who separate prayer from active life, as if they were incompatible.
WE CHILDREN OF GOD HAVE TO BE CONTEMPLATIVES: PEOPLE WHO, IN THE MIDST OF THE DIN OF THE THRONG, KNOW HOW TO FIND SILENCE OF SOUL IN A LASTING CONVERSATION WITH OUR LORD, people who know how to look at him as they look at a Father, as they look at a Friend, as they look at someone with whom they are madly in love (Forge, n. 738).”
Dear friends, although Our Lord ascended and gloriously entered into heaven, He hasn’t abandoned us: He has sent us the Holy Spirit, He is physically, truly and substantially present in the Tabernacle and hidden behind the most ordinary duties of our everyday life at the same time, present in our soul in grace with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
Let us then seek Him earnestly, with our mind, heart and soul in the midst of our daily occupations. Let us also take seriously of our apostolic responsibility to be His witnesses and gain souls for love of Him and for His Glory. These we ask God through Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles, Queen of Heaven!
- Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei, of the CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS FB page and website, http://www.catholicsstrivingfoholiness.com. If you want to help people in their Christian life, kindly like our FB page do so as well. Thanks in advance and God bless you and your loved ones!
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: https://stainedglassinc.com/glass/full/3258.jpg