02 Jun – Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
Christ’s Eternal Glory
We celebrate today Christ’s ascension to His eternal glory in heaven and express our Christian hope that where He, our Head, has gone before us, we, His Body, will one day follow, to live for ever in the Kingdom of our Father.
– The Sunday Missal
Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11
In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’
Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’
As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. This you can tell from the strength of his power at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make him sit at his right hand, in heaven, far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named not only in this age but also in the age to come. He has put all things under his feet and made him, as the ruler of everything, the head of the Church; which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation.
The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’
Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?
When I was younger, I often read Christian books that painted a picture of what Heaven would be like. There would be all the good people there and you could eat and drink and do whatever you wanted. You would be rich beyond your wildest dreams. And all the bad people won’t be there. All the good things you ever done would be told to everyone and you would be rewarded for all the difficulties you had to go through while alive. This is the promise of the future for Christians, where justice would be served, and all the good people rewarded, and all the bad people punished. But is it true?
In today’s first reading, the disciples are seen asking the Lord whether the time had come for Him to restore the kingdom to Israel. They wanted justice to be done, but what is the Lord’s reply? It is not for them to know times and dates that the Father had set. In the second reading, we see St. Paul writing to the Ephesians about what rich glories await the saints. He wrote this to inspire the Ephesians to keep on being faithful to God and His teachings. Throughout the Bible we see prophets speaking and writing to the people of Israel to remain faithful to God and His commands because God’s promises will be fulfilled in time. But is it true?
Yes, it’s true. But not in the way we usually think. It’s true because God’s promises have always come true, and God doesn’t lie. But it’s not in the way we think because 2,000 years ago, Jesus’ disciples thought that the Lord was going to restore the kingdom to Israel, but it still hasn’t happened in the way they thought that it would. This is why St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians and asked that the Lord give them a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring to them full knowledge of Him.
This is key, and in the gospel reading, Jesus similarly tells His disciples to make disciples of all nations, to baptise them in the name of the Holy Trinity, and to teach them to observe His commandments. This is because in observing the Lord’s commandments, we will come to full knowledge of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father whom Jesus came to make known to us.
It has never been about the glory of men and women. It has always been about the glory of God. So if you’re holding fast to a promise that you will be glorified for all the suffering you endure in life, you have to ask the question: Is it true?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: May the Lord bless us with a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, and to bring to us full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for revealing His wisdom to men’s fools.
Fri, 03 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 18:9-18; John 16:202-23; Memorial for Ss Charles Lwanga & Companions, Martyr
Sat, 04 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 18:23-28; John 16:23-28
Sun, 05 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 1:12-14; 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11; Seventh Sunday of Easter; World Communication Sunday