Liturgical Colour : White
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast day, one of the greatest tenets of our faith, and an essential part of our belief. This is the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by His own great power, ascended back into heaven, His heavenly throne and rightful place after He had completed perfectly all that He had come into this world for.
The disciples and the Apostles themselves saw this and were witnesses to this great and unprecedented event, and therefore from them, that is why today we can know of this event, because they testified for it and kept the truth through the generations in the Church. The Ascension of our Lord is one of the central tenet of our faith, and together with the Resurrection, further affirm the truth about Jesus, that He is not just mere Man, but also God, full of power and might.
Why did Jesus leave His disciples and Apostles then? Why did He not stay behind to help them in their ministry or lead them, so that He could bring more people to God? These must be the questions that are in our minds and hearts, and indeed, many people across different generations and time would have asked the same things about Jesus and His Ascension.
Indeed, the disciples themselves asked the same thing to the Lord, of whether He would restore the kingdom of Israel and brought glory to God’s people, right there and then. This again bring us to another common misconception which the people of God, the Israelites and Jews, had pertaining to the coming of the Messiah and His role in this world.
The Jewish people and those who believe in the strict interpretation of the faith as found in the Torah were not able to open their hearts to accept and receive the Lord Jesus into themselves, because they have for long, kept their ways and obstinate attitudes, in believing what they want to believe with regards to God’s promise and the Messiah, deciding that He had not yet come, with their arguments linked to the prophecies of the prophets of old.
Here exactly comes the danger of knowing without fully understanding it, and this danger befell the chosen people of God, stubbornly thinking that the Messiah that was to come, will come to bring glory to them and restore the kingdom of Israel as in the historical kingdom of Israel, as how it was during the time of David and Solomon, and that the Messiah would regather the scattered people of God.
They argued, those who refused to believe, that Jesus was not the Messiah because He did not restore the kingdom to Israel, nor did He apparently bring the people of Israel together, and worse still, for them, He claimed to be the Son of God, which ended up in their condemnation and betrayal of our Lord in the first place. This is because they did not realise that God worked in ways that are truly beyond their understanding, their human intellect and wisdom.
Those who have eyes, ears and senses would have known that, Jesus is truly the Messiah, who truly revealed that the Messiah Himself is God, and God is the Messiah, by coming down Himself into this world, in order to straighten things out and make everything good and working again. He had been proclaimed by the prophets who predicted about His coming and all the things that He would do, and all these were clearly indicated and written in the Scriptures and yet many continued to refuse to believe in Him.
But that is the truth, that the Lord God who has loved us so dearly, and which evidence of love had been truly numerous throughout the Scriptures, yes, so much that He gave us Himself and His life, that we may be saved. That He died for us on the cross, enduring such grievous torture and wounds for our sake, that we will not need to suffer the consequences of our sins, and by rising from the dead, He led mankind into a new hope, that death does not have the final say on us.
The Lord Jesus may have ascended into heaven into His rightful throne, but this does not mean that God has left us all alone, to fend for ourselves. No, in fact, He still watches over us from time to time. And remember, He promised the disciples the Helper, the Advocate, that is the Holy Spirit, which He sent to the disciples on Pentecost, and became their guide and strength in proclaiming the truth of the Lord, the same truth that we know of today.
We have to pray that the Holy Spirit will come and transform the entire world, that the eyes, minds and hearts of all those who still refuse to accept the truth of Christ be awakened by the Spirit, that their hearts be stirred such that they may eventually accept with full honesty and awareness of their conscience, the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and their most loving God.
Let us pray therefore, on this great occasion, that mankind may no longer be ignorant of God’s love, and may the Lord who returned to His residence and throne in glory, and who will come back to judge us all at the end of time, find us all to be worthy of Him, that. He may bring us all back into His loving embrace, to enjoy the everlasting bliss and graces that He will grant us forever. May God bless us all, and strengthen our faith always. Amen.