MAY 21, 2009- THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD: EPHESIANS 1:17-23; MARK 16:15-20
AFTER SPEAKING WITH THE APOSTLES THE LORD JESUS WAS TAKEN UP INTO HEAVEN AND TOOK HIS SEAT AT GODíS RIGHT HAND. The Ascension of our Lord that we celebrate today is an event integral with the resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Liturgy faithfully reflects the Biblical accounts of these three moments by separating them in time. Todayís feast is the fortieth day after the Resurrection; Pentecost will be commemorated in ten days. This arrangement, however, involves a measure of simplification, as is often the case when an attempt is made to represent historical reality that lives on in its consequences. Few happenings in history have had more consequences for our human family and for the Church in particular, than our Lordís Ascension.
The Gospel text we have just heard is the ending added on to
the original closing lines of Markís Gospel account. It represents a summary of
St. Lukeís version of Jesusí final appearance to his disciples after he had
risen and over a period of time instructed them further in their mission to the
world. When we examine the several other texts that present the Ascension, especially
the immeasurable scope of his power in us who believe. It is like the strength he shoed in raising Christ from the dead and seating him at his right hand in heaven, high above every principality, power, virtue, and domination, and every name that can be given in this age or the age that is to come.
The Ascension, in this revealed understanding, actively operates even now, continuing its influence not only upon the visible, sensible world in all its cosmic extent but operates as well in other worlds and will do so through ages to come. In our times when the best minds in science tell us that our cosmos that continues to expand at an increasing rate is but one of parallel or implicate worlds, these words of Paul take on more expansive and immediate significance. The very concrete nature of reality as explored by the most sophisticated instruments, points to the existence of worlds unsuspected, yet exerting their influence on our own cosmos. Christ, Paul tell us, is high above all worlds in this age and in the ages to come. The active presence of the glorified Christ at the right hand of the Father is not limited by time or space, nor is it confined to what our senses can perceive. For he is no longer subject to the law of nature but lives by the power of God, transcending all creation, including the worlds of angels.
The Ascension of Jesus finalizes the new creation initiated
at the resurrection that is characterized by the presence of a material body
that lives by the life of God, no longer subject to and dependent on the
natural law of our cosmos. Our own destiny is implicated and, in principle,
activated by this event. Through the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost we are
given a share in this new creation that relates us to the whole of existence,
to God himself and to all the worlds he has or will create.
This is the reality we celebrate today at this Eucharist through which we even now enter into communion with the Lord of glory whose love and power are the source of our hope and the goal of all our striving. &†
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