THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD (Solemnity) White
First Reading: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm: 47. R. v. 6; Second Reading: Eph 1:17-23; Gospel: Lk 24:46-53
WITNESSING TO CHRIST: THE WAY TO HEAVEN
The ascension of Christ into heaven ought to have elicited some sad feelings in the apostles as they watched their master disappear into the clouds. But this was not so. Conversely, they were glad as they returned to Jerusalem blessing God. This expression of gladness was really not connected to Jesus’ physical departure which should have saddened them. But it hinges mainly on the joyful privilege Jesus granted them to bear witness to his gospel message. Jesus said to them “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Lk 24:46-48).
Why would Jesus have to say this? What was the need of reminding his disciples of the past event of his life? Remembering is often a thing of the past we can only reminisce and savour. Some even consider remembering a waste of time because the past takes with it the tangible experiences surrounding it. So living in the past is making no progress at all. But Jesus’ life, passion and death and his subsequent resurrection and ascension into heaven wasn’t a thing of the past. It is rather an eternal reality because its saving effect is continuous. The disciples therefore were not called only to witness and remember it but to live it out daily and propagate the message to the whole world. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit will inaugurate this mission.
As we celebrate the solemnity of the ascension of Christ today, Jesus is calling us to remember. But what exactly are we to remember? If we have lost it, we are called to remember the times we witnessed to the gospel message through righteous living and to resume this life of witnessing immediately. Salvation is a daily journey and God needs our cooperation to save us. All that Jesus did for us requires a daily witnessing to them. When we read the Scriptures, we are not remembering a past event, but witnessing a live event. So in like manner, our commitment to the journey of faith should be like a live broadcast that the world should see and not something abandoned to reminisce on. It is this committed witnessing that will merit us the place our Lord Jesus had gone to prepare for us. Because the ascension message is simply this: that where Christ the head had gone, we the body are called to follow.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, we pray for the grace to follow in your footsteps so as to merit a place in heaven. Amen.
Henry Ikenna Chukwujekwu
Thanks so much Fr. Val for this enriching meditation.
Uche Edah Philip
Beautiful reflection.. Thanks Fr