May 13, 2018 Ascension Sunday 1st Reading: Acts 1:1–11 2nd Reading: Eph 4:1–13 or (4: 1-7, 11-13) Gospel: Mk 16:15–20
Jesus said, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned. Signs like these will accompany those who have believed: in my Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes and, if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed. They will lay their hands on the sick and they will be healed.” So then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took his place at the right hand of God. The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied them.
(Daily Gospel in the
Ascension celebrates the day Jesus returned to heaven forty days after he rose from the dead. Counting 40 days from April 1, 2018 (Easter Sunday), Ascension fell on May 10 (Thursday) this year. Since there is no civil holiday that allows Catholics to celebrate Ascension on a weekday, the Church has moved the celebration to this day, Sunday.
Ascension Sunday invites us to focus on the two-fold meaning of Jesus’ return to heaven, namely Jesus’ divinity and our eternal destiny. Jesus is divine and heaven is his abode. This is the raison d’etre of his Ascension. While we commemorate his return to heaven on Ascension Sunday today we look back with gratitude that he took on human flesh and became like us. There was a happy union, so to say, of his human nature and divine nature. He was agonizing at the Garden of Gethsemane because he was human like us. But he maintained full control of his human life. In fact he said, “No one takes away my life from me, I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18). It was within his power to come down from the cross and destroy all enemies. But he freely went through his Passion like an innocent lamb led to the slaughter (Jeremiah 11:19).
Ascension also points to our destiny. Didn’t he say he was going ahead to heaven in order to prepare a place for us? (John 14:3). By ascending to heaven Jesus revealed our supreme vocation. We are called to eternal life in God’s kingdom (Gaudium et Spes No. 22). How lofty it is to be human indeed! We should stop using our human nature as an excuse to continue wallowing in sin. To be human means to be destined for heaven.
These are the truths that we must spread as true witnesses of Christ. We must proclaim to the world that no less than a God-made-man died for us and that we are destined for heaven. –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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