Acts.1:1-11. Eph.1:17-23. Mk.16;15-20
He who makes a pilgrimage to the Holy land would not miss to visit the small mosque where according to the legend Jesus bade Farwell to the apostles and ascended into heaven. The location belongs now to Muslims who even today show the pilgrims two footprints which Jesus left at his departure.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Ascension of our Lord. Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus took his disciples to Betheny, near Jerusalem , adjoining the Mount of Olives and as he was blessing them, he ascended into heaven.St.Luke the evangelist has given us tow accounts of the ascension of Jesus. One at the end of his gospel. (lk.24:50-51) and the other at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (1:9).
Thus the ascension of Jesus marks the end of Jesus earthly life and at the same time it marks the beginning of his heavenly life and it is also the pledge of his second coming.
Today we do not have access to any visible signs of the risen Lord but his words and sacraments. It is more expedient that we ourselves become footprints of Jesus in this world as he himself wished: You will be my witness till the end of the world.
That means Jesus should be at work in us, which people may recognize in us what Jesus wants us to be. Jesus has already completed his mission and now it is up to us to continue his mission and convey to humanity the message of salvation.
Jesus showed that we have no lasting abode in this world. He said, “I must return to my Father”. We all have to return to the Father. That is our striving and aspiration. It is there we must focus our eyes.
Thus the ascension tells us: Look up to the real goal of your life, set your sights directly towards that heavenly Father, our creator. Jesus gives us the perfect example. His whole life was directed towards God the Father.
According to Jewish belief there are three regions in the universe the upper one, above the sky, supposed to be the abode of God; the earth, the abode of human beings; the region inside the earth, the Sheol the abode of the dead. Where did Jesus really go?
Legendary language should not be understood literally. And the Bible speaks the language man speaks and understands. Heaven is not a place to be located above or below. Heaven is where God is. Heaven is there where God can be seen and experienced in fullness.
When the Bible speaks of Jesus ascension, it uses the human language and means: Jesus is with God. Jesus shares the glory of the Father in fullness. That is the ground of our joy: Jesus entered into glory and we too will join him.
The ascension is the closing chapter or the opening chapter of his new and more powerful presence in the church. For he promised: I am with you always unto the end of the world. (Mt.28:20). We live ever in God’s presence and render him glory.
The ascension message should be proclaimed through our life, by witnessing the ethos of Jesus. The ascension urges us to communicate to all that Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth and he wants to save all men. Thus the Ascension is a feast to hope, a reality that transforms our life and gives it a meaning and fulfillment.
Jesus who ascended into heaven will come back again. When the disciples were gazing into the sky after his ascension, two angles in white said to them, O men of Galilee , why are you looking into the sky?
Jesus who had been taken up into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.
We believe that Jesus, who ascended into heaven, will come back again. And when he comes back, he will be seated as King upon the throne and we who believed in him shall be with him to reign with him forever.
The Lord who ascended into heaven has given us a task- to pattern our lives upon his teachings and to complete the task of spreading his name and his message to all the people of the world. May the Lord’s spirit who abides with us help us in this great task?