St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish

Introduction

Ascension of the Lord means “Jesus Christ was lifted up [to heaven], and a cloud took

him out of the sight” of his disciples. How often do we allow the Lord to integrate us in

his Ascension? How do we make ourselves available so that the Spirit of the Lord will

take us up to levels of his Ascension? How can we be part of the Ascension of the Lord?

Theme

“He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the

apostles whom he had chosen.” (Acts 1:2)

Receiving instructions through the Holy Spirit

We can be part of the Ascension of the Lord by receiving his instructions and his

teachings. The instructions of the Lord will lift up our minds and in fact our whole life

into the state of grace within the authority of Jesus Christ. It is within this perspective of

the pre-ascension that Jesus gave his final instructions to the eleven disciples, summoning

them to first “make disciples of all” and then baptize or immerse them in the Trinity.

Making disciples of all nations means teaching all nations to ascend into the instructions

of Jesus Christ. Baptizing all nations means immersing or ascending all nations into the

life in the Trinity:

“The eleven disciples went to Galilee,

to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

When they saw him, they worshipped him;

but some doubted.

And Jesus came and said to them,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father

and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.

“And remember, I am with you always,

to the end of the age.” (Gospel: Matthew 28.16-20)

The Ascension requires systemic, conscientious and intentional spreading of the words

and deeds of Jesus Christ:

“For, after the ascension of the Lord, the apostles handed on to their hearers what he had

said and done, but with that fuller understanding which they, instructed by the glorious

events of Christ and enlightened by the Spirit of truth, now enjoyed.” (Catechism of the

Catholic Church [CCC] 126:2)

The Ascension of the Lord requires the proclamation of the signs and works of Jesus

Christ:

 

“Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at ‘the

last hour’. Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is

irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on

earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect. Christ's kingdom

already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation

by the Church … until all things are subjected to him.” (CCC 670)

St. Luke understands so clearly the pedagogic and the teaching requirements of the

Ascension of the Lord so much so that he writes to inform, form and transform

Theophilus:

“In the first book, Theophilus,

I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning

until the day when he was taken up to heaven,

after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit

to the apostles whom he had chosen.” (Acts 1:1-2)

Our celebration of the Ascension of the Lord will be complete if we too receive the

teachings and the instructions of the Lord so that we in turn can inform, form and

transform all nations around us:

“While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem,

but to wait there for the promise of the Father.

“This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me;

for John baptized with water,

but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit

not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him,

“Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods

that the Father has set by his own authority.

But you will receive power

when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;

and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,

in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:4-8)

All believers are sent forth to be witnesses of the Ascension of the Lord to all nations.

As they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight

Jesus Christ was lifted up to heaven in the presence of his witnesses, the eleven disciples.

“The cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will

reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming” (CCC 697). The

Ascension of the Lord attests the authority, power and dominion that God gave to his son:

“Christ’s Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's

power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth.

 

He is ‘far above all rule and authority and power and dominion’, for the Father ‘has put

all things under his feet.’ Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human

history and indeed all creation are ‘set forth’ and transcendently fulfilled.” (CCC 668)

As we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, we cannot be looking towards heaven without

continuing the works of Christ:

“They said, Men of Galilee,

why do you stand looking up toward heaven?

This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven,

will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

We can celebrate the Ascension of the Lord by proclaiming and sharing his works:

“Clap your hands, all you peoples;

shout to God with loud songs of joy.

For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,

a great king over all the earth.

God has gone up with a shout,

the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises;

sing praises to our King, sing praises.

For God is the king of all the earth;

sing praises with a psalm.

God is king over the nations;

God sits on his holy throne. (Psalm 47.1-2, 5-6, 7-8)

With the eyes of your heart enlightened

The Ascension of the Lord can help clarify and enlighten our hearts, our eyes and our

entire life:

“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,

may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation

as you come to know him,

so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened,

you may know what is the hope to which he has called you,

what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power

for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

How does the Ascension of the Lord transform our hearts and senses? The Ascension of

the Lord gives us an opportunity to be part of a greater power and authority:

“God put this power to work in Christ

when he raised him from the dead

and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

 

far above all rule and authority and power and dominion,

and above every name that is named,

not only in this age but also in the age to come.

And he has put all things under his feet

and has made him the head over all things for the church,

which is his body,

the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:20-23)

The Ascension of the Lord is an opportunity to be part of the great historical and

transcendent event of the Paschal mystery that marks the transition between the glory of

the risen Christ and the glory of the exalted Christ (CCC 660). God has given us the

opportunity to be part of the glory of the exalted Christ.

 

Conclusion

How do we use the Ascension of the Lord to inform, form and transform our lives and

that of others? How can we remain in the greater powers that the Ascension of the Lord

signifies? How can our lives attest Paschal mystery of the glory of the risen Christ and

the glory of the exalted Christ?