Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/1/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Is this Feast a commemoration of an event which occurred 2000 years ago? Or, could it help unlock the meaning of our lives right now? Does it point to the plan of God for the entire created order?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God\'s possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:3-14)

The Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ

The Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/1/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: ascension, Feast of the Ascension, Pentecost, holiness, spirituality, charismatic, living faith, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - Throughout most of the Catholic Church around the world we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord on this Thursday. In some places, the Feast is transferred to Sunday.

However, whether celebrated on Thursday or Sunday, it is meant to be a cause for celebration. It can be - IF we allow the Holy Spirit to show us what it really means.

The Feast has lost its meaning in the experience of too many Catholics and other  Christians.

Does the Ascension of Jesus affect our lives in the here and now?

Is this Feast a commemoration of an event which occurred 2000 years ago? Or, could it help unlock the meaning of our lives right now? Does it point to the plan of God for the entire created order?

This is meant to be a Feast of profound meaning and promise. However, it requires us to reflect on  who Jesus is - and who we are empowered to become in Him.

The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus helps to explain the Christian vocation. It points to the ongoing plan of redemption for each of us. It gives us a glimpse of the loving plan of God for the whole of creation.

This Feast also points us toward a deeper understanding of the Feast of Pentecost which we will soon celebrate. The very Breath of God, His Holy Spirit, has been breathed into the Body of Christ, the Church - and into each one of us as members of that Body.

That Spirit makes it possible for us to live differently - beginning right now. It is at work within us, transforming us more and more into His Image and Likeness, as we cooperate with the gift of grace.

That Spirit empowers and equips us to participate in the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ, as it continues through His Body, the Church.

We have ascended with Jesus Christ - and are called to live on this earth the very realities of heaven. This is meant to begin in the here and now, to be completed in the fullness of time.

The redemptive plan of God in Jesus Christ will not be complete until the same Jesus who ascended returns and hands the re-created cosmos back to the Father.

That is what the Apostle Paul calls "the plan", or the "mystery" now revealed in Jesus Christ. (See, e.g., Col. 1)

So, what am I saying?

The Feast of the Ascension reveals the meaning of our lives and points to the plan of God for the entire created order.

Is that how we understand the Feast? I think we more commonly think of the Ascension as some kind of intermission. Now, we must strive to do the best we can until Jesus returns.

However, the Ascension is not an intermission at all. The event we remember in this Feast reveals the mission of the Church - and our call to participate in it.

Jesus Christ has not left us. He is continuing His loving, redemptive plan through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. 

The Head and the Body cannot be separated.

The great western Bishop Augustine proclaimed these words in a homily he preached on the Feast of the Ascension:

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

When we passed through the waters of the Font of Baptism we were incorporated into Jesus Christ and became members of His Body, the Church.

Therefore, as Augustine also wrote, "Where the Head is, there is the Body, where I am, there is my Church, we too are one; the Church is in me and I in her and we two are your Beloved and your Lover."

Augustine, reflecting the clear teaching of the early Church Fathers, reminds us that the Head and the Body united are the "One Christ." In other words, we ascended with the Lord! He is the Head and we are members of His Body. We cannot be separated.

So, this is our Feast!
 
We live in Christ by living in His Body, the Church, of which we are members. We are invited to live in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world.

Pope St Leo the Great reflected on the joy the disciples experienced on that glorious day in these words:

(T)hat blessed company had a great and inexpressible cause for joy when it saw man's nature rising above the dignity of the whole heavenly creation, above the ranks of angels, above the exalted status of archangels.

Now would there be any limit to its upward course until humanity was admitted to a seat at the right hand of the eternal father, to be enthroned at last in the glory of him to whose nature it was wedded in the Person of the Son.


Both Augustine and Leo point us to the deeper meaning of this Feast.

The Ascension does not mark the end of Jesus' relationship with His Church but the beginning of a new way of His relating to the world - in and through His Church.

This way includes every one of us who now bear His name. When viewed with the eyes of living faith the Ascension can begin to change the way we view ourselves and live our daily lives.

Jesus Christ bridged heaven and earth. Through His Incarnation, His Saving Life, Death and Resurrection, we have been set free from the consequences of sin, including the sting of death. (See, 1 Cor. 15:55)

We are being created anew in Him daily as we freely cooperate with His grace.
One of the Catechism's definitions of grace is "a participation in Divine Life".  (See, CCC #1997)

It calls to mind the wonderful words of the Apostle Peter in his second letter. He reminded the early Christians that they were "participants in the Divine Nature". (2 Peter 1:4)

So are we! We participate in the Divine Nature.

The Divine Life of the Risen Savior is mediated to us through the Word and the Sacraments - in and through the Church, which is the Body of Christ. Grace is the very life of God. 

We have been incorporated into the Trinitarian communion of love, beginning now, because we live in Jesus Christ.  We are members of His Body, the Church.

The Church is not some - thing, the Church is Some-One, the Risen Christ truly present in the world which was created through Him, and is now being re-created in Him.

The Church is the seed of the coming Kingdom, planted and sent into the world to continue His redemptive mission until He comes again.

When He does return, He will complete the work of Redemption.

The Church, as the early fathers were fond of saying, is the new world, the world in the course of transfiguration.

The Christian vocation invites us to live this new relationship in Jesus Christ together, with the Father, through the Holy Spirit. We are invited to live in the Heart of the Church, for the sake of the World.

So, the Feast of the Ascension is not an Intermission.

The Feast reveals the continuation of the Redemptive mission of Jesus Christ and the great and wonderful plan of the God of Love.

Let me conclude with some words from the great Apostle and mystic Paul who reflects on this loving plan of God:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.

In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.

In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 1:3-14)

Happy Feast Church!

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More U.S.

WOW - satanic temple members complain about burial of murdered children Watch

Image of A pro-life display highlights the human cost of abortion.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The satanic Temple is working to overturn a Texas law which ensures the right of unborn children to be cremated or buried. According to the satanists, burying a murdered child is an affront to their sincerely held religious beliefs. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) ... continue reading


Native Americans REJOICE as DAPL construction halts, but celebrations could be short lived Watch

Image of Protestors rejoiced following the announcement, but their joy may be short lived.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Army Corps of Engineers has denied permission for the Dakota Access Pipeline Project (DAPL) to build on federal land and under the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- For months, Native Americans have ... continue reading


30 confirmed dead in Oakland warehouse fire - The search for survivors continues Watch

Image of Several people were killed in an Oakland warehouse fire.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A deadly fire broke out in an Oakland, CA warehouse at about 11:32 p.m. Friday night. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Oakland Fire Department responded immediately but the warehouse was a series of artist studios and was in the midst of a party when the blaze ... continue reading


John the Baptizer and the Path to Freedom and Happiness Watch

Image of An Icon of John the Baptizer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Our image of John is often as the austere ascetic, the odd fellow who lived in the desert eating a strange diet and thundering to Israel about repentance. We forget the joy that was associated with his birth and the happiness which accompanied his prophetic life ... continue reading


Tutor sends 7-year-old to hospital for 'being disruptive in class' Watch

Image of Timothy Korr was arrested for child abuse (Baltimore police).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Timothy Randall Korr is a 25-year-old tutor at City Springs Elementary School who has been charged with assaulting 7-year-old Trayvon Grayson in the classroom. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Korr has been charged with felony child abuse and assault after police ... continue reading


ABOUT TIME - Texas now requires aborted children to be given a funeral Watch

Image of Texas will now require aborted children get funerals too.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A new law in Texas should help reinforce respect for the sanctity of life. The law now ensures that children killed in abortion mills at least get a proper burial. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Abortion is often treated as a "once-and-done" approach to ... continue reading


A miracle of Christ? Wildfire kills 11 but spares Jesus statue in Tennessee Watch

Image of Christ statue only survivor of Tennessee wildfire.

By (CNA)

As devastating wildfires continue to burn in East Tennessee, a startling discovery was made. Gatlinburg, Tennessee (CNA) - On Thursday, CNN said that one of its affiliate reporters had found a statue of Jesus in the remains of a burnt-down house in Sevier County. The ... continue reading


COLDPOCALYPSE - Record-shattering cold to freeze most of U.S., severe storms probable Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The United States is about to be hammered with record-shattering cold. A super-frigid airmass has developed over Alaska and will drop down into the lower 48 states next week. The exceptional cold is likely to break records, drop snow, and spawn violent storms. LOS ... continue reading


Faith and the Future: Build on the Rock of Jesus and Become the Church Militant Watch

Image of The Church is the rock of refuge and a safe harbor in an age which is being shaken.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The use of the expression Church Militant as a description of the mission of the Church on earth used to be very common. However, for lots of reasons, including a possible misunderstanding of the term in this increasingly violent age, it has fallen out of use. It ... continue reading


Surveillance footage released from Ohio State University attack Watch

Image of Ohio State University surveillance footage has been released (The Lantern).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

When Artan Razak Ali Artan mowed down people and began a stabbing spree at Ohio State University, he sent eleven people to local hospitals, one of whom was in critical condition. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In wake of the surprise attack, Ohio State University ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 40:1-11
1 'Console my people, console them,' says your God.2 'Speak to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:12-14
12 'Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 6th, 2016 Image

St. Nicholas
December 6: The great veneration with which St. Nicholas has ... Read More