We celebrate the Ascension this Sunday. The Ascension, as we can read in Break Open The Word, “is not about Jesus going up into outer space. The ascension is not an event, but a celebra on of the passing of the baton from Jesus to us. The risen Lord is now present in his people, and each of today’s readings stresses the mission of the Church to carry on the work of Jesus.”
Ascension is about our des ny. It says that we are des ned to a life beyond the one which we now enjoy. We are des ned to be with God in a union which can not be destroyed by death. St Paul prays: “May God enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how in nitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers.” (The Second Reading).
Ascension is about our present world. It calls us, as Chris ans, to con nue the mission of Christ on earth. Christ’s mission was not just to give us hope for the future, but to change the quality of life here and now, so that we can begin to experience already now the riches of the eternal life to come. Jesus entrusted this mission to his disciples when he said, “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the na ons; bap se them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.” (The Gospel) It is this mission that the angels urged the disciples to undertake, instead of “standing here looking into the sky…” (The First Reading).
Ascension is about endings and beginnings. On the day of his ascension, Christ’s personal ministry on earth ended, but the opera on of the Holy Spirit in his followers to con nue his ministry began. The me for preparing his apostles for their mission to build his Church was over, but the me for their par cipa on in the expansion of that Church began. We come to Church to praise God, to hear his word and to be nourished by the body and blood of Christ. But we do not stand here all day looking up to heaven. We leave this place to spread out the Good News of Jesus Christ in the world.
We are ready for the mission Christ has entrusted to each of us as His Witnesses in the world for love, peace, joy, happiness, forgiveness, and many more, in spite of any challenges and di cul es because we know that we are never le ‘orphaned’. The Lord promised: “I am with you always; yes, to the end of me.” Let us celebrate this Feast with joy, peace and readiness to be missioners of the Kingdom of God, throughout our living.
Fr. John Hong