By Fr. Rocco Marra, IMC
Today, we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, after forty days of Easter.
On this day, we contemplate the Glory of Christ, the Redeemer of all humanity.
The celebration of the Eucharist, every Sunday, inserts us in the life and mission of the Church, the Body of Christ, he is the head.
As people of God, every Sunday, we profess our faith saying:
– He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
– He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
(The Nicene Creed, articles 6 and 7)
We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
(Liturgy, proclamation of faith)
The Ascension of The Lord marks the conclusion of the earthly life and the mission of Jesus: The Son of God had begun his journey in Israel, with the mystery of the incarnation.
After his passion, death and resurrection, the Father glorified the Son, because he accomplished God’s plan.
Jesus overcame sin and death. As he descended from heaven; that is at the incarnation, now he is ascending to heaven.
He is the head of the body that is the Church; with him the heavens are open to accommodate in it the whole church.
The church is a sign of hope for the salvation of all humanity. All are called to enter in the house of God, in his heart and in his mercy.
The Church continues to celebrate the Eucharist, in order to nourish herself with the Word of God and to share the Bread of Life.
We may serve the wounded humanity, until he comes and take us to be part in the mystery of his eternal Love.
Sure the Word of God is an encouragement for us, to continue his missionary work, as disciples of Christ in today’ society.
From the first reading:
“Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
These words shook the apostles; they surrendered to God, in order to become his instruments and to fulfil his plan of salvation:
Jesus instructed the apostles for three years, he showed to them the power and tenderness of God the Father.
With his ascension, Jesus opened the heavens and prepared a place for all humanity.
The heart of the Christian supposed to unite heaven and earth, especially when docile to the Spirit, he prays the word of God and he lives it actively in his life. The Church is the sacrament of the salvation of Jesus for all humanity and the sign of communion between heaven and earth.
From the Gospel:
“they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs”.
Although Jesus ascended into heaven is continuing is work of salvation on earth. The Word of God has to be preached to all the nations: by prayer, by celebrations, by teaching and actions. Jesus is the Emmanuel, God with us always. Let us be his missionaries in our today time.
“Christ’s Ascension means that he no longer belongs to the world of corruption and death that conditions our life. It means that he belongs entirely to God. He, the Eternal Son, led our human existence into God’s presence, taking with him flesh and blood in a transfigured form.
The human being finds room in God; through Christ, the human being was introduced into the very life of God. And since God embraces and sustains the entire cosmos, the Ascension of the Lord means that Christ has not departed from us, but that he is now, thanks to his being with the Father, close to each one of us for ever. Each one of us can be on intimate terms with him; each can call upon him. The Lord is always within hearing. We can inwardly draw away from him. We can live turning our backs on him. But he always waits for us and is always close to us”.
(Basilica of St John Lateran, 7 May 2005 by Benedict XVI)