THE ASCENSION GROUND
Meditation for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Year C
(Acts 1:1-11; Heb 9:24-28, 10:19-23; Lk 24:46-53)
Within forty days after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples, ate and drank with them, and familiarized with them. He strengthened their faith in the resurrection, prepared them for the mission ahead, and taught them to await the coming of the Holy Spirit. His final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of His humanity into divine glory in the presence of His disciples. The disciples gazed in wonder as their Master ascended above. They were given the opportunity to witness this glorious moment so that they would believe and bear witness.
In our meditation, we raise up the eyes of our faith in union with the apostles to where our Master is seated in glory. Today, we stand with the apostles on the Ascension ground, with our hearts and minds gazing into the clouds of glory. As He goes, we remember His words to Nicodemus, “No one has gone up to Heaven except the one who came down from Heaven, the Son of man” (Jn 3:13). So, His Ascension explains His origin. His lifting up on the cross is now completed by his lifting up into Heaven. The bodily ascension of Jesus gives humanity a ‘space’ in God; Christ goes ahead to prepared a room for us in His Father’s house (Jn 14:2).
From the Ascension ground, we gaze with the apostles into the highest heavens, as Jesus, who offered Himself to the Father for us, is now dwelling in perfect glory with the Father. As the second reading says, the sanctuary where our prayer is answered, has become the dwelling place of the High Priest, through whom our prayer is offered. Therefore, Jesus’ bodily Ascension has become our assurance in sharing in the one eternal sacrifice in the Eucharist. Thus, our gaze in faith from the ascension ground is given life in our eucharistic gaze at the elevation of the bread and wine.
Though He ascended, Jesus did not separate from His disciples. His ascension becomes His elevation; He is still present among His believers through the Holy Spirit, who animates the believers in the words of Jesus. So, our gaze of faith in the celebration of the Ascension becomes our living experience, since our thoughts are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and our actions are powered by the words of Jesus. In this way, our daily lives silently await the fulfillment of the message of the angel to the apostles on the Ascension ground, saying, “This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”
It is as if every day we are standing on the Ascension ground as our words and actions reflect the divine presence of Jesus, and at the same time, they are filled with hope in His second coming. As the apostles were filled with joy at the good news of the Ascension, so do our worship and adoration spark up our hearts with joy, consuming all our fears and worries, and energizing us to go forward and bear witness. Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Thursday May 26th, 2022.
Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.