Thursday, 5 May 2016 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is a day of great rejoicing and great celebrations, for all of us commemorate today the day when our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our God, rose up into the glory of Heaven, ascending on the clouds of power, returning to the place where He came from, in order to prepare everything for us, for the time when He will come again to bring us all into the eternal glory He has designed for us.

Today’s celebration marks the culmination of the earthly works and ministry of our Lord, Who had been willing to come down from His heavenly glory, and assuming our humble form, and to suffer as we mankind have suffered, and embracing and taking upon Himself all the multitudes of our sins, that by His suffering and death on the cross, He might bring all mankind into the salvation He promised them, and liberate them from the forces of evil and darkness surrounding them.

By His resurrection our Lord had defeated death, showing to us all that if we are faithful to Him, death has no power over us, and no longer shall we despair or fear death, as death is not the end, but instead, the beginning of a new life with God that far exceeds whatever life and whatever joy and happiness that we have in our life currently on this earth.

The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven is therefore the final stage of that truth which our Lord is showing all those who believe in Him. We too shall ascend in glory at the end of time, and when the Lord comes again as He has promised even as He ascended into heaven, He shall bring us all who are faithful to Him, into the everlasting inheritance, the true joy and happiness that is the share of those who keep their faith in God.

After His ascension, indeed, we no longer see Jesus face to face as what the Apostles did. They were blessed indeed to have been able to walk with our Lord, and be in the presence of our Lord Jesus, including those disciples and the people to whom Jesus had ministered to. And those to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection had witnessed indeed His might and power, the Conqueror of death and the Giver of life.

But that does not mean that we who no longer see Christ our Lord is abandoned by God. We may no longer see Him as the Apostles did, but He is here with us, and He will always be with us, even without us knowing it. He has given us all His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, which He instituted and passed on to His Apostles and disciples, that by the bread and wine changed into the substance of His own Body and Blood, our Lord is truly present in our midst, and indeed, inside each and every one of us who faithfully and worthily received the Lord in the Eucharist.

He has also given us and sent to us the Holy Spirit, to be our Guide and Advocate, to strengthen our faith and keep the commandments which He has given us inside our hearts. He is always with us and He is always guiding us in His own subtle ways, helping us through one another and through His Church to find our way to Him and be saved. He is always active and is always at work, for the salvation of our souls, even if we have not yet noticed it.

And His promise that He will come again a second time? Yes, it is true, and He will indeed come again as He had promised. But that time will be different from His first coming. The events from the Book of the Revelations of St. John would show us that when Jesus our Lord comes again, at the very end of time, and at a time of His choosing, He will come no longer as a simple Man born in a stable amongst animals and shepherds, but instead as a victorious and conquering King.

And therefore, what does this mean to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us ask ourselves then, if the Lord were to suddenly appear and come into this world again tomorrow, or even on this very day, are we ready and worthy to receive Him? Are we prepared to welcome the Lord when He comes at the time He had designated? Or are we too caught up in enjoying the world such that we forgot about Him?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice and celebrate together the Solemnity of the Ascension, let us therefore keep in mind that we should be upright in our deeds and actions, and be filled with righteousness and justice. We must be prepared for the Lord Who will come again at anytime He desires, so that when He comes, He will not find us wicked and unworthy, and resulting therefore in us losing the promise of eternal life, and instead receive damnation.

Let us all remind one another, that the Lord is always with us, and He ascended into heaven in order to prepare the way for us, by preparing the place for us in the world to come. Let us hope in His promise, for He is forever faithful. Let us never be disheartened or discouraged by the challenges and difficulties that come about in our respective lives, for God Who is ever faithful will bless us always. Amen.