In the Solemnity of the Ascension we celebrate the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Father. But what hope does this bring to us? And what does that mean for our life today?
Bible readings Acts 1: 1-11 Psalm 47: 2-3, 6-9 Ephesians 4: 1-13 Mark 16: 15-20
Ascension, what happens after?
I like the manner Marks puts it “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.” The story does not end with the ascending of Jesus into heaven, it continues with the disciples who carry on the mission. However, they are not alone –the Lord is with them. How can we then talk about the departure?
Indeed, we speak of departure when refer to Ascension, and yet, it’s not that Jesus becomes absent, for he continues to be present but in a different way. In fact, with the Ascension a new page opens in the history of salvation; henceforth, it’s the disciples who carry on the proclamation of the Good News. And it’s our mission today. But what’s the content of such mission?
A human person has a place before God
Jesus who ascends into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, is God-made-flesh. So, through Jesus a human person finds his place before God. A way is paved for us, and our life is not condemned to a dead end for we have something to look forward to. That’s the salvation Jesus brought us. Here, I can’t help but hum the number by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, Up where we belong.
However, the looking up with hope shouldn’t be an excuse for inaction; neither should we expect the conditions of our earthly life to change by miraculous intervention. It’s our duty as Christians to act, through our involvement in the world, in the manner that hastens the reign of God. Indeed, don’t the men in white robes make a wake-up call? “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” (Acts 1:10).
Truly, Jesus will come back, that’s our hope; but for now we get down to work. We count on his inspiration and his grace in order to be actors of the Kingdom –through us the reign of God is realised in our families and in our places of work. In short, our day to day life becomes permeated with Gospel values. What does this Good News bring to our lives?
Important in the ascension of Jesus is the ascension of our humanity. And preaching the Gospel is to continue with message of Jesus that uplifts humanity. Indeed, how many times do we find in Jesus words and gestures that imply a kind of uplifting? With his ascension, this mission of uplifting is entrusted to us. And so we can ask ourselves; how much do I uplift others by what I say and do?
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