13 thg 5, 2018

Homily For The Ascension Of The Lord (May 13, 2018)


He Goes Up To Heaven Bringing Us With Him

The Ascension of the Lord means to us many great aspirations of which the following three realities may seem most important for me and for you as believers in Christ.

First, today Christ leaves us on earth and goes up to heaven.  By so doing, He by no means abandons us lonely and unaided amid suffering and difficulties, both physical and spiritual.  He indeed promises to stay with us always until the end of the ages.[1]  

After the Resurrection, Christ, the Risen Lord, no longer lives in our human conditions, characteristically affected by space and time, and material needs such as food and drink.  He, as the new creation, has entered the new heaven and new earth, and by so doing, He has also opened for us the gate of the new life.

From now on, physically speaking, Christ does not stay with us but in us, as we no longer stay with Him but in Him by being united with Him, as body parts to the head,[2]  through the power of the Sacrament of Baptism, and by being conformed to Him in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood.[3] The Risen Lord, present in His Word and His saving mission entrusted to the Church, always treads all the ups and downs of our journey until the day we will meet Him at His Second Coming in glory.

Second, Christ goes up to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father in our very human nature which once He took and lived up during His saving mission on earth.  By so doing He assures us of the strongest hope of our glorious future in God’s Kingdom where He is waiting for us, His brothers and sisters in the same humanity.[4] This Christian faith in the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting of our mortal bodies is much more strengthened by the doctrine of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mother into heaven, both body and soul. 

Third, to the disciples saddened and almost broken by the disappearance of the Lord from their sight, as reported in the First Reading taken from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, the angels said that Christ would come back the same way He was taken up to heaven.[5]  This truth gives us more encouragement in our struggles for being faithful to Jesus our Lord and Savior on the one hand, and on the other, it also strengthens our determination to fight the forces of evil in all their forms, in order to build the Kingdom of God right now and here, knowing that our Lord is watching over us and giving us His full support and blessing.

The Ascension of the Lord is really the fulfillment of the promise of Christ Our Savior that whenever He was lifted up He would draw all of us to Himself.[6]    
           


[1] See Mt 28:20.
[2] See 1 Cor 12:12-31.
[3] See Rom 8:29; Jn 6:56.
[4] See Rom 8:29.
[5] See Acts 1:11.
[6] See Jn 12:32.


Fr. Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Nhut, O.P.

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