Thursday, 21 May 2020 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today on the Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, on the fortieth day of this season, we celebrate together the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, celebrating the moment when forty days after His Resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended in glory into Heaven, to return to His heavenly Throne, triumphant and victorious in the sight of all of His disciples who witnessed the events and testified about it on their missions and passed down the truth to us through the Church.

On this day, we remember that moment when the Lord was no longer physically present among His disciples and followers, when they can no longer directly see Him or touch Him as they had been able to during their approximately three years of following Him throughout His works and ministries. But this did not mean that the Lord abandoned or left His disciples, or ignored them and did not care about them any more. On the contrary, the Lord Himself specifically mentioned that He went to prepare the places for His faithful ones, and that He would also send a great Helper to assist His faithful.

This Helper or the Advocate is the Holy Spirit, Whom God promised to send to all of His faithful ones. The Holy Spirit is the source of strength and hope for all the faithful, the font of wisdom and truth for them during their works and ministries. And the Lord would fulfil this promise as in ten days after His Ascension, the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles as they prayed in a room, an event known as the Pentecost, and which also marked the birth of the Church.

All of these are reminders for each and every one of us that God will always be with us no matter what, and He will always provide for us and care for us at all times. He is always ever faithful to the Covenant He has established with us and we must also not forget that while we can see Him no more than the Apostles no longer could see Him after He ascended, but in truth, He is always close to us because of the most precious gifts He has given to each and every one of us.

The Lord has given us all through the Most Holy and Precious Eucharist, as the Most Precious Body and the Most Precious Blood of His own, that from the bread and wine offered by the priests in each and every Holy Mass, by the power and authority granted to all of them through His Apostles, God Himself, in the person of each of the priests, bishops and the ordained ministers of the sacred priesthood transformed those bread and wine into the real essence and presence, the matter and reality of His own Body and Blood.

This is because we truly believe that each and every celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the very same sacrifice that Our Lord Himself had offered at Calvary, when He willingly bore the burden of the Cross and gave Himself to be the sacrificial Victim for the sake of our salvation and to free us from the destruction because of our sins and wickedness. The Lord has gone through all these for our sake because He truly loves each and every one of us, without exceptions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, let us all therefore look up to the Lord and remember His love for us, and this Easter has indeed been a great time for us to recall the hope that we find through our Lord’s triumphant victory against evil and sin, His sacrifice to liberate us from our sins and from the chains of our bondage to these sins and wickedness. The Ascension is a reminder that if we are all faithful to the Lord, as He Himself had mentioned to His disciples, He will prepare for us all the place in the eternal glory and joy with Him.

On this day, we ought to remind ourselves that God has always been faithful and loving, ever fulfilling the part of His Covenant and His promises to us. Therefore we need to have faith in Him that no matter how challenging and difficult our lives’ situation may be like on earth, we must have hope and trust in God that everything will be fine in the end. And we all know how challenging and difficult life must have been for many of us in the past few weeks and months, all the fears and uncertainties we are facing at home and at workplace.

Many among us are enduring plenty of challenges and sufferings, some being sick from the pandemic, while others are economically affected because of the immense disruption this pandemic and other issues happening all around us had caused so far. Many have lost hope and even their loved ones, family members and friends in the past few weeks and months. It is understandable why many people are now despairing and suffering because of all these.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians, it is our duty indeed to be the bearers of God’s hope to all of our fellow men, that we may truly proclaim His truth to everyone, that despite the darkness being present all around us, all is not lost because while we all certainly fear death and separation from our loved ones, but Christ by His triumph over evil and death, and by His glorious Ascension into heaven has shown us the path forward, a path of light and hope, free from darkness and despair.

Let us all bear this same hope, and the same light of Christ in our own lives, by sharing them through our words, actions and deeds. Let our words bring hope and encouragement, not hatred, division and scorn. Let our actions bring healing and strength to the downtrodden, and not selfishness and haughtiness, and let our deeds bring others to come to know God, our loving Creator, showing His love, care and compassion for each and every one of us, by showing that same love to our fellow men.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord and Saviour, Ascended in glory to His heavenly Throne and reigning over all, give us the strength and courage to live our lives according to His ways, and may He empower us all to be true Christians in all words and deeds, at all times and circumstances, that we may remain hopeful and true to our faith and look forward to the time of our own glorification at the end of time, sharing in the glory of His Ascension. May God bless us all and our good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

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