Homily (Reflection) for the Solemnity of Ascension of the Lord, C, (5th May, 2016) on the Gospel and the Solemnity

Acts 1:1-11;
Ps 46:2-3.6-7.8-9. (R. v.6);
Eph 1:17-23 or Heb 9:24-28.10:19-23;
Lk 24:46-53.

Topic: Our Head is in heaven.

In the gospel, Jesus told us unequivocally that He came down from heaven, cf. Jn 3:13, 31; 6:38. Again, while teaching about the sacrament of His Body and Blood Jesus also repeated that He came down from heaven, cf. Jn 6:41, 51, 58. And Saint Paul also wrote that Christ came down from heaven, cf. 1Cor 15:47.

We celebrate today the ascension of Christ into heaven. And we read in today’s gospel, “... and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven” (Lk 24:50b-51).

Christ whom we celebrate His ascension today “is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour” (Eph 5:23). Again, “we are members of his body” (Eph 5:30). And again, in Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians we also read, “...you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1Cor 12:27).

Jesus Christ ascended into heaven before us and for us, cf. Heb 6:20; Jn 14:2-3. Hence, we do not merely celebrate today Christ’s ascension into heaven, we also “express our Christian hope that where he, our Head, has gone before us, we, his Body, will one day follow, to live forever in the Kingdom of our Father.”[1] But we must be ready. Saint Paul wrote that when we call God, Abba (Father),

it is that very [the Holy] Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him (Rom 8:16-17).

So dear friends, we must hearken to Saint Paul’s admonition, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col 3:1). We read from Saint Peter, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1Pt 2:24). And also Saint Paul in his letter to the Colossians also wrote, “he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him” (Col 1:22). So whoever wants to ascend to where Christ is must therefore not use his/her body which is part of Christ’s body for evil, cf. 1Cor 6:15.

Bible Reading: Eph 4:4–5:20.

Thought for today: Prepare to join the Head.

Let us pray: God, help us to be ever ready to ascend to where our Head has gone before us – Amen.

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[1] The Sunday missal: A new edition (1995). London: HarperCollins Religious, p.768.

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