The Ascension of the Lord
Every time we say the creed, we proclaim our faith in this mystery of our salvation: “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God.” This feast invites us to look more deeply into what it entails.
Number one: Jesus is not visibly with us any more. He has been telling his disciples, “a little while, you will see me and a little while you will not see me, because I am going to the Father.”
How many times did he tell his disciples and the crowd, “The Father sent me, I came down from heaven and you will see the Son of man going where He was before.” So, after completing his mission on earth, He is going back to where He came from. The same way, He would appear suddenly to his disciples and then they would not see Him anymore. On the day of his Ascension, He vanished from their sight. When He came down from heaven, when he became Man, no one saw Him coming. We may say He went back to God the same way He came down from the Father.
The second thing to ponder on this day is the fact that we have work to do. “As the Apostles were looking intently at the sky, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?” You have work to do. You have a mission. Go and continue what He started. Did He not say, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth”?
A third thing to remember is the fact that Jesus is still in our midst, He is still with us as he promised, “I am with you always, till the end of the world.” He is still teaching, He is in the blessed Sacrament, He appears to people, He heals, comforts, strengthens. He is real to those who truly believe. He is still operating miracles in the daily lives of many.
Last, but not least, we say in the creed, “He will come again in glory, to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.” Isn’t this what we read in the Acts of the Apostles? “This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”(Acts 1, 11)
What we should remember here is the fact that Jesus warned us to be vigilant, to be awake, to keep watching for ways of his presence in our midst, to keep the faith. He is so concerned about our perseverance that He declared, “When I return, will I still find faith on earth?”(Lk 18:8)
In conclusion, this is what Fr Martin Kochanski, in his book The Creed in slow motion, writes about the Ascension. “Let’s finish by listening to what the Angels have to say. In the New Testament they have mostly been telling people not to be afraid, and quite right too, because they are the messengers of the Infinite, and anyone who is not awed flat by the presence of the Infinite is a fool. “But look, since the Resurrection, the Angels have changed their tune. They no longer say, “Don’t be afraid,” they say, “don’t look here; look somewhere else.” Don’t look in the tomb for Jesus because that is only where the dead are. Don’t look into the sky for Jesus because the sky is only a symbol.
A new theme has come into the music: Stop looking in the wrong place.
Father Danis Ridore