Saints of God, the Lord be with you!
Growing up I remember this great feast, or better referred to as the Solemnity of the Ascension, was celebrated on a Thursday, and to be honest, some dioceses still keep to that day of the week. However, it makes sense to me to celebrate the Ascension of the Lord on a Sunday, since this is another way to describe the mystery of Easter.
On Easter Sunday, the church focuses on Jesus’ victory over death through bodily rising, albeit the body is now not merely physical, but somehow more. In theological parlance it is a glorified body, able to pass through doors and a bit unrecognizable to Jesus’ disciples. In the Creed, Jesus, “was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell (sheol, the place of the dead) on the third day he rose again from the dead.”
Today, the church focuses on the fact that this glorified body that rose from the grave is now one with God. As we recite in the Creed, “He ascended into heaven, as is seated at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”
Think about this: where Jesus is, we too shall be!
Jesus, in the Gospel according to John states, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God, have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you. And 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.” Not only is there a place for us, but our bodies that will one day lie in death will also be raised and glorified. As the theologian N.T. Wright says, “there is life after life after death.”
Today’s solemnity is one of joyful hope. It gives us a glimpse of our destiny if we live, here on this earth, the faith we profess that Jesus is indeed “The Way, The Truth, and The Life.”
Easter is such a mysterious mystery that the solemnity of the Ascension is not the final word. There is at least one more feast to celebrate and describe the Easter event. If you know what it is, let me know. I’ll be at the door of the church.
Peace and All Good,