Today, we celebrate the ascension of Our Lord into heaven. In the first reading, Jesus was “lifted up, and a cloud took him” while the apostles were looking.
Dearest sisters and brothers, the ascension of Christ into heaven brings closer to us the hope of being with God in eternity. According to our Catechism, “God made us for Himself” and it is in eternity that we will enjoy him in his fullness. Jesus, who became one of us in the flesh, in ascending to heaven today, reveals to us the glory to which each of us is called.
Our present earth, while being the place we live out God’s love in its fullness, enjoying his fatherly love and sustenance, is also a preparation for our eternity. Christ’s ascension today into heaven does not signify Jesus’ inactive or disinterested presence on earth. It is rather that he has begun to be with us through his Spirit rather than in his flesh.
Today’s celebration is a call for us to unite and work with the Holy Spirit to sanctify the earth. As the angels asked the apostles, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking at the sky”? Dearest sisters and brothers, this question summarizes our present mission which is not the time to be looking up to the sky but rather of active service in the vineyard of the Lord—a time to turn our attention downward to see how to make our world a better place. It is a time to look around to see those who need our help. It is a time of active witnessing.
In the Gospel, Jesus said, “I am with you always, until the end of age”. Jesus is always with us through his Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, as Paul tells us in the second reading. The Holy Spirit is to reveal to us how God is at work in our midst. Our witnessing is to cooperate with God’s Spirit, patterning our lives on that of the risen Christ.
Remember, it is only when we have finished our earthly life that one can be ready to look up to the sky where our ascended Lord is. In my usual experience, I always observe that our dead sisters and brothers have always had their eyes fixed permanently to the sky. Is that not a reminder for us that until death, we are to concentrate our attention on our neighbors, helping them to make our society a better place.