As inspired by the Holy Spirit, St. Paul writes about the Supremacy of Christ: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…….He is the head of the body, the Church” (Col. 1. 15, 18). God’s plan of sharing His Divine Life with us is being realised in the head of the human race, namely Jesus Christ. As we celebrate His entry into heaven, we express our Christian hope that we, who share His divine life here, will also be raised to that eternal glory; where our Head has gone before us, to live forever in the Kingdom of our Father. This is the plan of God for mankind.
The Resurrection of Christ shows that our life cannot end with death and tomb; and the Ascension of Christ shows that our eternal destiny is with our Heavenly Father. Jesus was the ‘Model man’ for the whole humanity for He entered into this world to teach us about God’s infinite love and gave us a model of holiness, truthfulness and all that is good. As the head of the human race, He lived the life in its fullness, emptying Himself out of love for God and man. Dying on the Cross for the sins of mankind, He reconciled the sinful humanity with God the Father, who raised Him from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11). The Risen Saviour was lifted up to heaven as the disciples were watching, ‘and a cloud took Him out of their sight’ (Acts 1.9). When Jesus was being ascended into heaven, the disciples “were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts. 1. 10.11). Jesus had told His disciples: “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may also be” (Jn. 14. 2, 3).
So the destiny of mankind is shown through the Ascension of our Lord. Christianity is a way of life, a religion of hope and personal fulfilment. Man becomes ‘fully alive’ only when he is united with God, but without losing his personality. The dynamism of human life begins when life is conceived in the mother’s womb and grows into full human being in the mother’s womb. From birth onwards the human potentials are realised and lived. In Jesus one can find the ideal of ‘life in its fullness’ that will lead him to the Father. Whenever a person who says no to sinful or selfish way of living, or to a life of lie; whenever he chooses to pattern his life according to the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (Mt. chapters 5,6,7), he is choosing the resurrection in his daily life, and he already begins a foretaste of his eternal life with God here on the earth. The risen life of Christ is flowing into him. Death is only a gateway for him in order to reach his destiny. God will raise him up and will give him a share in His glorious life. Therefore ascension is not only for Christ, but for every practising Christian. We need however to live in this hope, giving glory to God through our lives, by fulfilling God’s plan in Christ for us. “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn. 11.25, 26).
Let us pray: God our Father, make us joyful in the ascension of your Son Jesus Christ. May we follow him into the new creation, for his ascension is our glory and our hope. (The Sunday Missal).
Fr. J. Mariakumar and Mary Pereira