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HOMILY: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Mt.28:16-20)

 

 

My dear brothers and sisters, Happy Ascension of the Lord.

 

With this salutation we are expressing how today we are celebrating the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. But what do we celebrate actually in this day? Is it about the moving away of Jesus, going away from this world and moving into heaven? Is it about the celebration of us fixing our spot in heaven because Jesus will prepare it for us? Is it about the gaze of disciples into heaven, a gaze which symbolizes our desire to be included as those who can go into heaven?

We have to remember that we are still in the context of the Easter season. Thus, we need to understand our celebration today in the context of the progression of this Easter season. The ascension of Jesus into heaven is a celebration which focuses on Jesus’ promise to us. “I am with you always until the end of time.” The angel mentioned in the first reading also promised the same thing; “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” The ascension of Jesus to heaven is not about how we are now separated and thus isolated from him. On the contrary, regardless of our physical separation from him, we are still connected with him through this promise.

Connected through promise; this is the main theme of our celebration today. Jesus’ promise is not an empty promise. Jesus’ promise that we will still be connected to him is the reason for us to wake our own spiritual self. Our celebration next week is the Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit to us. But this celebration will be nothing if we don’t have the proper vessel for the Holy Spirit. If we are not awake enough spiritually, our next week celebration will only be a historical celebration rather than an anamnestic celebration: a celebration of the Holy Spirit who are not only for the Apostles then but also for us now. The ascension of Jesus is the celebration of us waking our hearts up to the promise of Jesus. Doing the mission he entrusted to us is the way for us to wake our hearts, to prepare our personal connection with him in the spirit. It is in entrusting this mission from him to the power of the Holy Spirit that we can believe it is Himself who will guide us throughout this mission.

Thus, all of our journeys during this Easter season are not separated journeys, divided into weeks and days of celebrations. Yes, all of these celebrations are happening in our own criteria of time. Yes, we cannot but celebrating it through our own human calendar. But let’s not forget that it is all an integral celebration of our faith. It is all an integrated celebration of entrusting our self to the One who was resurrected, reappeared to our lives, taken up into heaven while entrusting us with his mission of love, and pouring down his own Spirit unto us. Regardless of our own separate ways in celebrating these feasts during Easter season, let us awaken our faith to the integral dimension of all these saving acts of the risen Christ. Be awake, be one.
 


 

By Fr. Antonius Firmansyah, SJ

 

 

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