Homily for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Year C
Theme: Christ’s mission to the world
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Thursday, May 30 2019
The entirety of Christ’s mission was to save us from the clutches of sin and shame, to reconcile us with God and to lead us to our true homeland. In His Ascension into Heaven, Christ not only manifested His glory, but also traced the path to God for us and opened wide for us the gates of heaven. May the power and glory of the Ascension bridge the gap between us and our true homeland and strengthen us to be constantly focused on where we truly belong; Amen.
40 days after Easter Sunday and 10 days away from Pentecost Sunday, the Church celebrates that holy day when our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is the bridge that liturgically lunches us into the last lap of Eastertide, the period of the preparation for the Feast of Pentecost. The First Reading (Acts 1:1-11) gave an account of how the event of Ascension happened; “He was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took Him from their sight.” He ascended in glory! Truly, “God goes up with shouts of joy, the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.” The Ascension of Jesus Christ marked the end of His earthly mission. This mission, however, was to be continued by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church He founded on His apostles and rested its keys on Saint Peter the Prince of the apostles. Assuring the disciples of His continual presence amongst them in the person of the Holy Spirit, He said to them before He ascended; “now I am sending down to you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city then, until you are clothed with the Power from on high” (Lk 24:46-53). Jesus Christ ascended into heaven but never in the sense of being far away from us and from His Church, but rather, that He might be closest to us in a most efficacious way in the Holy Spirit. He ascended that the Holy Spirit may descend and remain always with the Church until the end of time.
Through His Ascension, Jesus Christ paved for us the shortest access to God and to God’s Kingdom. By breaking through the skies, Christ pierced the heights of the heavens and graciously enlightens “the eyes of our minds so that we can see what hope His call holds for us, what rich glories He has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that He has exercised for us believers” (Eph 1:17-23). Like the disciples, we can now gaze into the highest heavens and be completely enwrapped in the beauty and glory and splendour we behold; the goal and ultimate reward of our entire earthly sojourn. In this lay the central message of today’s Solemnity! We have a future! We have an ultimate destination! We have a home! Christ has gone before us to show us the way and to help us to ascend so that where the Head is, there also will all His followers may be.
May the power and glory of the ascended One through the graciousness of the One to descend anew upon us continue to attract and pull us towards and eventually into the abode of our common Father in Heaven; Amen. Happy Feast; Fr Cyril CCE