The Solemnity of the Ascension
Acs 1: 1 – 11; Ps 47; Ephesians 1: 17 – 23; Matthew 28: 16 – 20
“…as they were looking on, He was lifted up and a cloud took Him from their sight” – but they did and would carry in their hearts, in their minds His voice, His face and gestures, His words and of course, His marvelous deeds. With delight they carried all these with a great affection and these memories were, in a way, a kind of presence.
But, even more than this – they carried Jesus’ living presence in their depths, because they had become the Body of Christ, His living presence as they went on with their lives, their missions. Jesus Himself had given them the key to unlock something of the mystery, the divine event we know and celebrate as the Ascension of the Lord.
He said, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” I am with you not as a memory of the past, My words are not now just some kind of support, encouragement – I am truly within you and we, as well as these ﬁrst believers, have come to know this, to experience this as the Divine Indwelling of the Lord. “I am with you”, a message of exceeding love was said once and for all time.
The Ascension of the Lord is at once an absence and a presence – He has gone yet He remains – unseen yet seen with faith – in faith we celebrate His presence within us and we celebrate our own lives which bear His living presence – we have become and are living tabernacles of the Lord Jesus, Risen and Ascended; the Ascension of the Lord encompasses us profoundly
To profess and live love of God, of neighbor, of self is to live Ascension – living on a plane higher than nature – not above others in arrogance or superiority but with and among others, our fellow humans as we bear the living presence of the Lord.
When we stop to look into our own hearts or pause to examine how we truly live, for most of us, if not all, it is not easy to believe that we are
Christ-bearers considering our failings. St. Paul encourages us with these words: “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…give you a Spirit of wisdom…May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened so that you may know what are the riches of glory…”. “The riches of glory” – today we celebrate, acknowledge with gratitude this richness, wealth, treasure of bearing within us Jesus Christ our Risen and Ascended Lord. His is a yearning presence – yearning to be ours and dwelling within. Does the Lord yearn for you, for me, for all? This is what His sacred presence is all about! It cannot be otherwise.
We can surely and willingly pray, “Lord, by Your Resurrection and Ascension, live Your yearning presence within me all the days of my life. And, my Lord, enlighten me!