The Ascension of the Lord is important to us Christians, in 3 significant ways:
1. Ascension reveals the Divinity of Christ
Christ came into the world to save us from the power of evil and death through his own suffering, death and resurrection. With mission accomplished, Christ returned to the heavenly Father, “where he is seated at God’s right hand, far above every principality, power, and dominion, with all things subjected beneath his feet,” (Ephesians 1:17-23). At the same time, Christ is always with us through his living word (John 14:23); through the sacraments (Luke 22:19-20); through the Church (Acts 9:1-5; Matthew 18:20; 25:40-45). Christ himself testifies: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20).
Ascension, 1305-06, Giotto
2. Ascension affirms that Heaven is our homeland
Saint Paul teaches: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body,” (Philippians 3:20-21). Jesus himself has promised, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places…if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am, you also may be,” (John 14:1-6). Ascension is, therefore, a preview of the heavenly glory that waits all who love and serve God.
3. Ascension defines our earthly mission
On the day Christ ascended into heaven, he commissioned his disciples: “You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth,” (Acts 1:1-11). Before we get to enjoy the heavenly glory and our eternal union with Christ, our homework on earth is to be a force for good by advancing God’s kingdom of love, peace, unity and justice. Blessed are we when the Lord returns at an hour we do not expect and finds us prepared (Matthew 24:46; Luke 12:37). And the Lord will declare: “Well done my good and faithful servant. Come and share your master’s joy,” (Matthew 25:21).
Peace be with you! Fr. Frank