Reflections on the Lord’s Ascension

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


THIS Sunday the Church commemorates and celebrates the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. After having risen from the dead, Jesus presented himself alive to his apostles and disciples, taught them about the kingdom of God, and prepared them for his departure.

Now that time has come. After having fulfilled his mission on earth, Jesus ascends to heaven. To him heaven is not a new place. It is his real and permanent home. It was where he came from. He was there from the very beginning. The Bible tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14), and his name is Jesus.

In his ascension, Jesus did not leave his Church orphaned. He promised to be with her until the end of age (Matthew 28:20). This he fulfilled by sending the Holy Spirit starting on the day of Pentecost, empowering his Church to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that he has commanded” (Matthew 28:19), thereby making them his “witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

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Jesus also fulfills this promise through the spiritual nourishment of his children in Holy Communion. Just as the Father fed the Israelites with manna throughout their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, Jesus now sustains us with the real food of his flesh and the real drink of his blood as we continue our journey from our temporary home here on earth to our eternal home in heaven (see John 6).

In his ascension, Jesus goes ahead to prepare a place for us. At the appointed time he will come again, so that in the Father’s house where he is, there will we be also (John 14:3).

In heaven Jesus sits at the right hand of the majestic throne of the Father (Hebrews 8:1). He sits there as our Great High Priest, “not a priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but as one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Thus we can now approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

This Ascension Sunday may we then find joy and courage in these spiritual truths. In going back to the Father, Jesus never really left us. His presence can be felt by his indwelling Spirit, through the Eucharist, and in every member of his body, the Church. And so as we pray, let us remember that in the name of our Ascended Lord, the Great High Priest and Mediator, our adoration, praises, thanksgiving and supplication reach the very ears of our loving Father in heaven.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 29, 2014.

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