Ascension of the Lord Year C – 16
Acts 1:1-11 / Eph.1:17-23 / Luke 24:46-53
Being the Mother’s day, I wish all the Mothers a Very Happy Mother’s Day and I have an inspiring story. A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.
He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.” The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”
He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers. As they were leaving, he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.” She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.
The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house. Yes, this is a day to admit gratefully the fact that none of us is able to return, in the same measure, all the love that our mothers have given us.
Their influence on their children is so great that it affects the children throughout their lives. Our mothers not only gave us birth but nursed us, nurtured us, trained us in our religious beliefs and practices, taught us good manners and ideal behavior, disciplined us as best as they could and made us good citizens of our country, our Church and our society.
And today is the feast of the Ascension. Today’s readings describe the Ascension of the Lord Jesus into his Heavenly glory.
The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, describes the scene of Jesus’ Ascension, his promise of the Holy Spirit, his instruction to the apostles to wait at Jerusalem for the power from above and his missionary command to his apostles to bear witness to him.
Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps.47), suggests that by his Ascension, the risen Lord “mounts his throne” in glory. In the second reading, Paul teaches us that God revealed His might in the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and in his exaltation over all angelic forces.
He remains accessible to us now in the life-giving Holy Spirit, assuring us that one day we, too, will be ascending to Heavenly glory, provided that, with His grace, we live out our Faith in Him through the mission of loving service He entrusts to us.
Today’s Gospel tells us that, with his return to the Father, Jesus completes his mission on earth. But just before his Ascension he entrusted to his disciples the mission of preaching the Good News and evangelizing the whole world by bearing witness to him through their lives.
It is in his Ascension that we see Jesus entering fully into the life and glory of God. Jesus Christ was lifted up to heaven before the eyes of his disciples. This makes us wonder why did Jesus Christ leave his disciples for Heaven? What does Ascension of the Lord mean to us?
The catechism of the Catholic Church defines that Heaven is where God and saints live. Heaven is an everlasting life. Heaven is an eternal life. Heaven is the final and biggest reward for those who are faithful to God. Heaven is where people will be satisfied completely.
The presence of God fulfills all desires in people. Why the Risen Lord did not stay with his disciples on earth for the Evangelization? It will be much better if he stayed with them and directed them for this mission.
It is really bad when he left them alone for many struggles and persecution when they tried to achieve the mission of Evangelization that he ordered them to do.
No, when the Gospel says, “Jesus withdrew himself from his disciples and was carried up into heaven”, the Gospel doesn’t mean that Jesus left his disciples for heaven, for a perfect life and Jesus abandoned them for many struggles and persecution on earth.
The ascension of the Lord is considered as a final step of salvation. Salvation begins with Jesus’ birth in a form of man like we are. Salvation was performed by preaching the Good News, by healing the sick, by restoring to life for the dead.
Salvation was shown by dying on the cross, by rising from the dead and finally by ascending into heaven. These stages make up salvation for human. This is exactly the way we live. This is also the goal we try to reach. Jesus Christ is considered as the first born of human creation.
He shows himself as a perfect model for all of us. All of us were born on earth. All of us have listened to the Good News preached by Jesus Christ. All of us have received the healing and reconciliation.
All of us have received the Body of Christ as the food of life on the journey to heaven. All of us will die one day and finally all of us who believe in Jesus as the resurrection and the life will rise again from the dead for Heaven, for everlasting life with God and all Saints.
So the ascension of the Lord is considered as a foreseen way that we will be in the future. The ascension of the Lord encourages us to follow Jesus Christ as a model of human life. What should we do to have heaven at the end of life?
Actually heaven is a reward. A reward is given to someone who has been won after fighting. Yes, we will have heaven as a reward given by God for our fidelity with faith. Jesus Christ ascended into heaven after he has died and rose again from the dead.
I mean that Jesus also received a reward of Heaven after he has been faithful with his mission. As Christians, as the followers of Jesus Christ, we have to follow Jesus, our forerunner so that we would have heaven at the end of life.
Actually we were born not for challenges. We don’t intend to live for persecution. But challenge and persecution are always around human life, especially Christian life. We live like everyone does but keep in mind that we are on the journey of life. Our destination is heaven.
When we celebrate the ascension of the Lord, I won’t say that life on earth has no value and nothing. I won’t tell you that just fix your mind and your eyes to heaven. No, Jesus lived on earth, loved people on earth and worked very hard to help people on earth so that they know that they have eternal life expecting them in heaven after the life on earth.
My message is, do not glue yourselves permanently on earth. Everything won’t last forever on the earth. We should live, should work and should serve people on the earth with love and with our enthusiasm but remember always that we are going to everlasting life in heaven.
The Ascension is a mission to preach the Gospel: After attending a convention led by Billy Graham a woman wrote to him. “Dear Sir, I feel that God is calling me to preach the Gospel. But the trouble is that I have twelve children. What shall I do?”
The televangelist replied: “Dear Mam, I am delighted to hear that God has called you to preach the Gospel. I am even more delighted to hear that He has already provided you with a congregation in your own home.”
Yes, we have a teaching mission: Jesus taught us lessons of Faith, Hope, Love, forgiveness, mercy and salvation by his life and preaching and gave us the same mission to teach others.
Hence, let us learn about Jesus and his teachings through our daily study of the Bible and the teachings of the Church, experience him in personal prayer, our reception of the Sacraments and our works of charity, and convey to others Jesus whom we experience with the help of his Holy Spirit. Amen.