Hurray! Our Lord Goes Up With Trumpet Blast!!
Readings: (1st: Acts 1, 1-11; Ps: 46, 2-3. 6-7, 8-9; 2nd: Eph 1, 17-23; Gos: Lk 24, 46-53)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details contact him on:email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or +23408063767512
Today the 9th of May the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Ascension. The Solemnity of Ascension is one which commemorates the taking up of Christ into Heaven as indicated in today’s first reading from Acts 1, 1-11. It is a holy day of obligation, and is usually celebrated on Thursdays as it is popularly believed to have taken place on a Thursday. However, in some parts of the world this solemnity is celebrated on Sundays in order to help many faithful working in non – (Catholic/Christian) organizations fully observe it.
The Ascension is an important solemnity attesting to, and celebrating the reality of the God made man – Jesus’ returning to the Father. Hence the Psalmist invites “all people to clap their hands and cry out with joy” because Our Lord “goes up with shouts of joy and with trumpet blast”. Together with Christ’s resurrection, it is also a clear manifestation of Jesus’ Messiah-ship. It is a solemnity that lifts up and sustains the hope of Christians that one day we shall be where Christ is. It is the final battle blow of Jesus Christ against the devil.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church in teaching about this solemnity highlights the following three important theological points: Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain, (cf. Acts 1:11);…Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him forever. Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit (665-667). Ascension therefore, marks the beginning of the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to send us the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. So, The Solemnity of Ascension sets us on a fast track to receive the Holy Spirit because, Jesus himself tells us: “If I do not go away the Counselor will not come to you (Jn 16, 7).
In the second reading, Paul prays asking God to send us: “… a Spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed to bring you the full knowledge of him”. This is because the Holy Spirit is the one who gives the knowledge, wisdom and understanding necessary for us to carry on after Jesus must have returned to the Father, and the one who directs all our missionary endeavours. That is why Jesus says: “He will teach you all things…”
In today’s gospel Jesus before his Ascension, advised us to: “…stay in the city then, until you are clothed with the power from on high”. This power from on high we must patiently and humbly seek if we must make any positive impact upon this world of ours. We must therefore pay attention to what Jesus tells us in today’s gospel. As an experienced commander He knows the terrain we are about to lunch into very well, and what it takes to be successful there. He knows how delicate and fragile the hearts of men and women of our age are. He knows that only the Holy Spirit can convince them. So as we celebrate the Solemnity of Ascension today, let us pray for the grace to patiently wait for the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to us on Pentecost day.
Peace be with you!