Greetings to you on the Ascension of the Lord (transferred from Thursday).
“Christ has not gone away from us, but is with us forever” Pope Benedict XVI.
If we look at the gospels which give the account of the Ascension, we see that Jesus commissions the Apostles to baptize in his name and that “repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name” (Luke 25:470). He further says “you are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). But he also reassures them of his continued presence when he says “behold, I am with you always,” (Mt 28:20). Indeed he is always present through his Spirit, the “promise of my Father” (Lk 24:49).
Christ ascended to his Father amid cries of gladness and “shouts of joy” (Ps 47:6), entering the Sanctuary of heaven. “Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf (Heb 9:24).”
What are we to make of all these deep and profound events? Pope Benedict XVI put it very well in his book Dogma and Preaching. He described the Church’s celebration of the feast as “the expression of our belief that in Christ, human nature, the humanity in which we all share, has entered into the inner life of God in a new and hitherto unheard of way. It means that man has found an everlasting place in God.”
Pope Benedict also wrote: In this perspective we understand why Luke says that after the Ascension the disciples returned to Jerusalem “with great joy” (Lk 24:52). Their joy stems from the fact that what had happened was not really a separation, the Lord’s permanent absence: on the contrary, they were then certain that the Crucified-Risen One was alive and that in him God’s gates, the gates of eternal life, had been opened to humanity for ever.
That's why the Apostles rejoiced, and that should be the cause of our joy as well. Because Jesus no longer belongs to a fallen and corrupt world, we who hold on faithfully to Christ find refuge forever in the arms of God.
Like them, we too, accepting the invitation of the “two men in dazzling apparel”, must not stay gazing up at the sky, but, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit must go everywhere and proclaim the saving message of Christ’s death and Resurrection.
May we too enter this unity with God through our celebration of his ascension.
Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers in the parishes. May God bless you for all your selfless and inexhaustible love for us , your children. May our mothers who have passed from this life enter the joy of the Ascension, eternal union with God.
God bless you all,
Father Robert Letona