Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
May 17, 2015 – Year B
Readings: Acts 1:1-11 / Psalm 47 / Ephesians 1:17-23 / Mark 16:15-20
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
It has been said that those who know where they are going, why they are going, and how to get there, are blessed, indeed. Today, as we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, Holy Mother Church reminds us of the Great News that we who became Sons and Daughters of God when we were baptized should know exactly where we are going.
Jesus has given us directions on how to get to our destination. Our goal in this life is not just to be successful in our chosen field and live a contented life all throughout our earthly existence, but to be happy with God in this world and the next. In today’s gospel, St. Mark the evangelist, describing the Ascension of the Lord, said that after Jesus spoke to his disciples telling them to proclaim the Good News, he was taken up into heaven. St Luke, author of the Acts of the Apostles, has given us a little more detail. As we heard in today’s first reading, while the disciples were looking on, Jesus was lifted up and a cloud took him from their sight. Of course, this particular scene in the Bible looks a lot better in the movies. That instant in the life of the disciples is definitely a sad event. As we all know, it is not easy to say good-bye. That is why while they were looking at the sky, two men dressed in white garments gave them a word of comfort when they said, “This Jesus who has been taken up from you will also return in the same way you have seen him going to heaven.”
In our prayers before the consecration, we are also reminded of the Good News that the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven not to distance himself from our lowly estate but that we might be confident in following where he has gone. And this is our final destination.
For years, people have asked what will heaven be like and what will we be like when we get there. The scriptures don’t give a detailed description or any specifics about heaven. In the first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul said that what God has in store for those who love him is more than what our human eyes have seen or ears have heard. However, in the Bible, heaven is always associated with joy, peace and love. This is why the author, C.S. Lewis, once said that joy is the business of heaven. The Lord Jesus has given us guidelines on how to experience that kind of joy while we are on our earthly journey. As we all know, these guidelines are in the sacred scriptures. At the same time, He also told us that the reality is we will also experience trials, frustrations, and sadness. In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve but your grief will turn into joy.” And then he gave us this analogy: When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of the joy that her child has been born into this world.
Jesus says, “So you are also now in anguish, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice and no one will take your joy away from you.”