Date: May 21, 2020 (Easter)
Bible Text: | Fr. Roniel Duenas
Series: Scripture Reflections
Skeptics always have questions about our faith. What hinders most of them from believing in the biblical accounts, for instance, in regard to the origin of the world and how it came to be, are those theories offered by particular disciplines and fields of study that simply deny these biblical truths. I presumed they have read Saint Thomas’ Quinque Viae or the Five Logical Arguments to prove the existence of God. But despite its compelling wisdom, they still insist a truth on the basis of physical evidence which renders it impossible to achieve. Thus, we have the Big Bang theory and a couple of other theories.
The truth is: nobody was there when God created the world, yet we being believers of the One who puts Order to this seemingly random world is convinced that Somebody, an Uncaused Cause, An Existence that can make something out of nothing, must be responsible for this wonderful Creation. Thus, we have the Creation story in the Book of Genesis. It takes faith to believe in it. But I am not saying, a blind obedience kind of assent but rather a faith seeking understanding.
Personally, I should say, we may not have the opportunity to see how it all begins, but Jesus shows us how it all ends. Our faith teaches us that we came from God; by His Love we came into being; Our origin is Him, and we go back to Him. Today, in this celebration of the Ascension of our Lord, through the witnessing of His apostles, our eyes were opened to that reality that we will rise to life after our earthly sojourn and we will ultimately go back to where we come from. We came from God; we go back to Him.
We are closely connected to our Creator, and the fulness of that connection will be revealed when we are finally in communion with Him on the Last Days in heaven. By His ascension, Jesus allows us a glimpse of how the reunion and our final destiny would come into place. On the one hand, while the events of the resurrection and ascension can give us foresight of the things we are looking forward to; on the other hand, these two significant events too will serve as windows to understanding the truths of our mysterious beginnings.
The resurrection and ascension of the Lord is the culmination of Jesus’ revelation. It was during these moments when the apostles’ deepest frustrations and grief were replaced with consolation, joy, and hope. Before their eyes, Jesus, by pure action, explained in the most convincing way why the kingdom of God is called the pearl of great price. The apostles need this consolation in the same manner that we all do, as we take on Jesus’ commissioning to go and make disciples of Him.
The ascension is not only about Jesus being taken up to heaven but it is also about our assuming of Jesus’ work, thereby perpetuating His memory and continuing His legacy. Our celebration of today’s feast must have both a vertical dimension and a horizontal orientation. It must lead us to a vertical appeal to God to take us up to heaven; and a horizontal direction towards other people.
In the first reading we heard the Angel tell the disciples: “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?" A fellow priest in his gospel reflection candidly says: “On our ascension - when and how will we be taken up to heaven – it is God’s problem; for the meantime, we should be more concerned about going to others."
Going to others to be bearers of Good News; going to others to be living reflections of God’s goodness and love; going to others to be credible signs of God’s mercy and forgiveness, going to others to be manifestations of the coming of God’s kingdom.
Let me end this with a prayer:
Lord Jesus, your Ascension does not make you absent. It makes you present in a new way. You are present in the community of disciples who carry on your saving mission. Lord today you have no hands on earth but ours, no feet but ours. Ours are the eyes through which you are to look out to the world with compassion. Ours are feet with which you are to go out doing good. Ours are the hands with which you are to bless and heal our brothers and sisters especially in this time of the pandemic. Lord help us make you more visible and audible to the people around us.