Saturday, February 11, 2012

"He Ascended into Heaven, and Is Seated at the Right Hand of the Father"

Some of us pilgrims had a chance of visiting the Mosque of the Ascension on top of the Mount of Olives.  For us as Christians, this place has a very significant role in our lives of faith. Commemorating the Ascension of the Lord brings joy to us as Christians who believe that, at the end of our pilgrimage, Jesus will be there to welcome us into the heavenly kingdom where we shall see him face to face. Although it’s unclear if this is the actual spot where Christ ascended, we believers don’t commemorate the exact place as much as the event which occurred. It doesn’t matter where the ascension exactly took place but what matters is that He ascended back to his father and our father.
            St. Luke is the only evangelist who gives a clear description of the ascension, writing “He led them out as far as toward Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them and was carried up into heaven” (Lk 24:50). As I mentioned earlier, we don’t know the exact place but the reality remains that He ascended.  One of the most striking details about the ascension is the fact that, when Jesus called the twelve, he have them his power to drive out demons, lay hands on the sick, restore sight to the blind and other gifts. He later gave this same power to the disciples and, after the resurrection; he extended his power to all the believers. Whoever believes in him and is baptized receives this same power. This shows how Jesus is very generous with his grace.  Luke is trying to draw a distinction between the terrestrial mission of Jesus and that of the apostles, which began with the descent of the Holy Spirit. After the Ascension of our Lord, the Bible tells us that the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy and spent much of the time in the temple praising God.  We Christians, who received the charism, or the power of the Holy Spirit, have received a charism of action. We are encouraged to actively use the gifts of the Holy Spirit which we have received in order to build our communities.

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