Posted by: livingscripture | May 17, 2015

Ascension of the Lord

From the Word of the Day 

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.”   

(Acts 1: 11)

“So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.  But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”

(Mark 16: 20)

How should we live this Wordcreator-150x150[1]

 Today we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, His exodus from this world as part of the Paschal Mystery.  It must be read from a special outlook that is not easily or adequately understood.  With Jesus’ death and burial, there occurred a separation between Him and His disciples.  His Resurrection does not re-establish the pre-Easter situation, which was a life lived visibly together with Him.  There begins another way of being with the Risen and Living Jesus who makes Himself present in His Church.

The Gospels present all this through the image of the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven.  Among almost all peoples, the skies indicate the dwelling place of the divinity and even the Bible uses this spatial language.  However, with the advent of the scientific age, all this celestial religious language has had a crisis.  For us today, space is where our planet and the entire solar system moves and nothing more.  Christians are in agreement with this.  Thus to see the skies as God’s dwelling place, is more a ‘state’ than a place.  When we use this term, it makes no sense to say over or under, up or down.  This does not mean that Paradise does not exist, but only that we lack categories to be able to represent it adequately.

In the light of this, to proclaim that Jesus ‘ascended means to say that He, even as Man, entered into God’s world.  Our true Heaven is the Risen Christ whom we will reach after our death.  The angel’s words are a sort of reproof, telling the disciples not to stand there speculating on the ‘beyond’, but rather to live in the expectancy of Jesus’ return, following His mission to bring the Good News to the ends of the earth.  He went to Heaven but without leaving the earth.  He has only left our field of physical vision.  Jesus Himself reassures us in Matthew’s Gospel, “I am with you all days, until the end of the world”. (Mt. 28: 20)

In my pause for silent contemplation, I shall reflect on Jesus’ new way of being with me and thank Him for it.

The Voice of Pope Leo the Great

The Easter feast of Jesus’ Resurrection is of great joy for us.  And now, His Ascension is the cause of ineffable joy.  In fact, today we remember and celebrate the day in which our poor nature was elevated in Christ to the throne of the Father.

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