Categories: HomiliesPublished On: May 16th, 2021Tags: , 740 words22.4 min read
The Ascension

Here are links to our readings for the day:

Ascension of the Lord

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops has moved the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord from Thursday to the following Sunday. Their rationale is that more people will have the opportunity to keep the holy day of obligation. It is an important celebration, but I think it sad that we have to move the date. There is something special in our faith about have solemnities even if they happen on weekdays. But I admit that is a personal preference.

What do think of when you hear the Ascension of Lord? Do you get a mental image of Jesus slowly being lifted to the clouds? As He goes higher and higher soon you can only see the bottom of His feet. Then He disappears in the clouds. Or do you picture Jesus going up like a rocket? In Jerusalem there is a shrine where they say the footprints of where Jesus stood are visible before He left earth. One problem though. The Muslims believe those footprints were from Muhammad when He received the words for the Quran. There was an argument between the Muslims and the Christians, so they settled it in an interesting manner. They cut the rock that has the footprints into two pieces. Apparently, the Muslims got the left footprint, and the Christians got the right footprint. If you ever go to Jerusalem, it is interesting to see.

To only think of Jesus ascending into heaven is to not understand the mission of Jesus. We need to go back to Adam and Eve. When God created human beings it with an understanding that they were to be in God’s presence forever. God did not create death. Rather when we sinned, we allowed death to enter the world. But God had a plan. He would send His Son to redeem the world. When we think of this redemption we think of Jesus’ nativity. We remember that He suffered and died for our sins. And then we think of this Easter celebration to Pentecost. The Ascension just seems to be thrown into the celebration almost as if it is an afterthought. But the Church does not do things as an afterthought. The Ascension must be more important.

Again, look to the beginning. God created the angels. They are all spirit, extremely intelligent, and were created to serve God and to serve human beings. It is because God created angels to serve human beings that a division came about with the angels. They did not want to be part of God’s plan and rebelled. Some of the angels broke away from God. The angels realized early on that God wanted the angels to serve human beings and because of that some of the angels could not humble themselves to obey the Will of God.

Now look at the Ascension with this thought in mind. Where does Jesus ascend to in heaven? To the right hand of the Father. Jesus has elevated the human being to a higher position than all of the angels in heaven. Where Jesus leads all of us are to follow. We are all destined to be above the angels. In heaven, the angels will continue to serve us just as they have served us here on earth. We celebrate the Ascension knowing that Jesus has taken the human form to where it should be in heaven. We should not talk about the Incarnation, or His suffering, or His resurrection without also stating His Ascension into heaven.

One last point to keep in mind. Jesus said, “pero cuando el Espíritu Santo descienda sobre ustedes, los llenará de fortaleza y serán mis testigos en Jerusalén, en toda Judea, en Samaria y hasta los últimos rincones de la tierra.” Did you notice Jesus said we are to be witnesses. There is something lost in the translation from the original language. The word Jesus used was that we are to be martyrs but is not translated into witness.

So, we are to be willing to die for the faith. These are the final words of Jesus before He ascends into heaven. Are we ready for this challenge? Consider you who are today?

May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen