A Blissful Ascension of the Lord…

Ascension of the Lord (Solemnity)

Religious Myspace Comments

Ascension of the Lord (Solemnity)

Christian faith does not despise the human body, reducing it simply to a shell or a tent, but rather recognises and affirms that the human person is both body and soul. Indeed, the central truth of Christian revelation is that God became man, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The importance of the human body – Jesus’ body, our own body – is underpinned by Jesus’ bodily ascension into heaven, which we celebrate today. Jesus returned to God the Father, body and soul, and just as he ascended in glory, so he will one day return in glory.

The Ascension of Jesus was a defining moment both in his life and in human history. There is a very real way in which since the Lord’s Ascension God’s plan of redemption has entered into its final and ultimate fulfilment. It is as if since that moment we have been living in the ‘end times’ and Jesus’ return in glory is imminent. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it like this: ‘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’.

Now, truth be told, not many of us live as if Jesus’ return is imminent. In fact, it is possible that some of us don’t really believe that at all — any talk of Jesus’ return can be viewed as a little over the top or extreme or fundamentalist. The Catechism does not take this view but states clearly and unambiguously: ‘Since the Ascension Christ’s coming in glory has been imminent, even though ‘it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.’ This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are delayed’.

Jesus is truly the Lord of History and the King of the Universe. Today’s feast rejoices in and celebrates his authority and power, and looks with hope and longing for his Second Coming, when his intervention in human history will be brought to its completion and fulfilment.

‘Hail the day that sees him rise, to his throne above the skies;
Christ, awhile to mortals given, re-ascends his native heaven.’
(Charles Wesley)

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