‘Assumptions’ on the Ascension – Understanding the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord – Acts 1:1-11/ Luke 24:46-53
When Catholics think of the Ascension of our Lord, they often mix it up with the Assumption of Mary. But that explanation is for another day because this brief reflection wishes to focus on three other ‘assumptions’ linked to the ascension. Let us examine these ‘misunderstandings’.
1. The Assumption is not a parting but a handing over. The fact that Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father seems to be a good bye moment in the minds of many. It’s as if Jesus has done what he came do and now he has gone back to the high heavens and all will be well with the world. The Ascension is not a good bye moment but an opportunity to say hello.
Christ handed over his Church to the apostles and to us so that we may take the good news to the ends of the earth. Each time we begin a faith conversation it’s a continuation of the ripple effect that Christ so wished it to be; to take the message from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the ends of the earth. Each time we say a ‘faith filled hello’ and begin a faith conversation or share our testimony (as the early Church did) we start a ‘new’ Jerusalem in that place and at that moment and the message is then taken further to a ‘new’ Judea, a ‘new’ Samaria, till it reaches the ends of the earth.
2. The Assumption is not a conclusion but a culmination. Yes, the curtain has fallen but that’s just because it’s the end of the first scene; it’s the end of part one. The culmination of part one leads to a pause; a pause for us to gaze briefly at the past but to look with eagerness to the future. Christ promised his disciples an exciting part two of the faith narrative with the coming of the Holy Spirit. This is no time to shut your book, it’s time to turn the page for a new chapter of our spiritual life begins with the Ascension.
3. The Ascension is not a geographical movement but a moment of ‘exaltation’. The question that we mistakenly think we should ask is, ‘where he is?’ when what we should be asking is ‘who he is?’ Where he is or where exactly has Christ gone indicates that he has left earth and now moved to heaven when in reality the Ascension of our Lord points to His exhalation. He is at his rightful place, as the Messiah seated at the right hand of the father.
Fr Warner D’Souza