PASTORAL MESSAGE – MAY 16, 2021
Happy Feast of the Ascension! Today’s celebration marks the fortieth day after Easter Sunday which commemorates the Ascension of Christ into heaven, according to Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:2. Tradition designates Mount Olivet near Bethany as the place where Christ left the earth. The proper feast falls on Thursday. It is one of the Ecumenical feasts ranking with the feasts of the Passion, Easter and Pentecost among the most solemn in the liturgical calendar. The Ascension is an important Christian holiday affirming and celebrating the reality of the God-Man Jesus Christ’s return to the Father. It also celebrates his promise to return again in the future “Parousia” at the Second Coming, but the Second Coming is not just one event taking place at a particular time. Rather it is made up of a series of events.
The Catholic Catechism concisely summarizes three important theological aspects (with which most Christian churches agree) regarding the Ascension:
- Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf. Acts 1:11)
- Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him forever.
- Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit (665-667).
In the Gospel today, Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” Let us also be mindful of our own Christian duty and responsibility that we ought to bring the Good News to all people that we meet in our daily life. Indeed, we are entrusted in the Lord’s promise that He will send us another Helper, the Spirit of Truth (John 16:7-16). And that is exactly what happened on the Day of Pentecost, ten days after Jesus’ ascension. The Spirit descended on the church with power, inaugurating a new age in the history of salvation.
May Almighty God continue to guide us and bless us with good health, strong faith and renewed hope!
Prayer to Christ Ascended into Heaven
O Lord Jesus, I adore You, Son of Mary, my Savior and my Brother, for You are God. I follow You in my thoughts, O first fruits of our race, as I hope one day by Your grace to follow You in my person into heavenly glory.
In the meantime, do not let me neglect the earthly task that You have given me. Let me labor diligently all my life with a greater appreciation for the present. Let me realize that only by accomplishing true human fulfillment can I attain Divine fulfillment and ascend to You at the completion of my work.
~ New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book ~