The Ascension of Our Lord Part II
Jesus led his disciples out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.
In upstate New York, our Lord’s Ascension is celebrated on a Thursday. I celebrated it there and then. In Dallas Texas, the Ascension is celebrated on a Sunday. So today, I’m celebrating it here and now. I guess I was wrong when I wrote, “You can’t go back in time.” I guess in some ways you can.
Taken up to heaven. The Apostles saw with their very own eyes Jesus taken up to heaven. This “taken up” should be taken literally; but it should also be taken figuratively, for grace is very “uplifting”, very “releasing” of earth’s downward pull.
On the day He was born, the Son of God penetrated earth’s realm. Today, the Son of Man penetrates heaven’s realm and is taken up into heaven.
Mary’s yes. This is how it all began. The Messiah’s story began when a young woman said yes to God. Mary’s yes allowed the Lord to penetrate our public lives. He walked with us, spoke to us. He even listened to us. And while His smile was always sincere, some of those who smiled back were full of deceit and intrigue.
Who hasn’t been following the news lately of the three young women kidnapped and held hostage for nearly ten years? But what we find even more shocking is the suspect who did this hideous (“hidden”) crime. From all the news reports I have read, it appears as though Ariel Castro was a normal looking guy. He looked “normal”, acted “normal” and spoke “normal”. He lived a “normal” life. Even family members never suspected any wrong doing.
We all have our public face. But “what you see isn’t necessarily what you get.” In fact, most likely, “What you don’t see is what you really get!” That’s what so many of us don’t get!
The Lord ascended into Heaven and went “private” so that He could penetrate our public face. He went private so that we could go public! That is, be who we were created to be!
During His public ministry, the Lord would enter rooms through an open door. But after He died, He entered rooms through the wall. Before His crucifixion, He would walk from one village to another. But after His resurrection, He traveled throughout the world through His Apostles; by those who received His Spirit. Pure love, authentic love, is not public; it us private and personal. True love not only penetrates brick and mortar but most importantly stony hearts.
Christ’s love story began with so much hope. Scripture tells us that He came into the world not to condemn the world but to save the world. Unfortunately, things went terribly wrong. His love was rejected and people preferred darkness over light. Even His own people rejected Him. But the Lord did what He came to do, regardless of the outcome. He brought hope to the hopeless and love to those who had forgotten how to love. He brought His message to the humble, not the prideful. And though His life came to a tragic end, His life remained a great success. The Ascension of our Lord into heaven is a great ending from a tragic event. Love conquers all things, including death.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to be perfect to love someone. You just have to love someone. The Lord ascended because He loved us. The Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into Heaven because she loved Her Son and said “yes” to her Father.
We will be taken up into heaven if we love God and love others as He has loved us.