Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
May 16, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Acts 1:1-11 / Ps 47 / Eph 1:17-23 / Mk 16:15-20
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
About five hundred years before our Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was a philosopher in ancient Greece by the name of Heraclitus, who said that the only permanence in life is change. Heraclitus was stating the obvious. Every single moment there is a change in the world within us and around us, whether we are aware of this or not. We are no longer the same persons compared to yesterday. We change physically, mentally, and even spiritually.
Benjamin Franklin must have learned from Heraclitus; he was able to say, “When you are finished changing, you are finished.” To be alive is to change constantly. To be comfortable with change is to be comfortable with life. The final change will come at the hour of our death.
As we celebrate today the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, we are being reminded by our Holy Mother Church about our destination after we cross the door which we call death to enter into everlasting life. Our final destiny is not a forbidden tomb, but the bosom of the Lord our God.
The apostle St. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, said, “Brothers and sisters, set your hearts on the things that are above, for Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Seek the things that are above, not things that are on earth.”
As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, our lives here on earth have a sense of direction, because we are members of the mystical Body of Christ. Our Lord Jesus is our head and we are His body, and where the head is, we, His body, hope to follow.
A little more than a week ago, I visited one of the nursing homes in our area to give the Sacrament of the Sick and Holy Communion to a parishioner there. While I was praying in the hallway (because I wasn’t allowed to go into the individual rooms), one of the staff members there joined us in prayer. After I was done with the short prayer service, the lady who had joined us introduced herself and said that she is a Catholic. She added that working in a place where death and dying are part of what they see every day, listening to God’s words is a source of strength and inspiration. It reminds us that death is not the end, but the beginning of life that will never end in the company of the Lord our God.
Brothers and sisters, at the opening prayer of this Mass, we prayed, “Lord, we rejoice for the ascension of Christ. Your Son is our exaltation, and where He, our head, has gone before in glory, we, His body, are called to follow in hope.”