The WORD in Other Words by Fr Jong Biton SVD (Philippines) on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord
He was lifted up…taken up to heaven…
The Ascension celebrates Jesus’ ascent to heaven after forty days from the resurrection. It presents his exaltation to the right hand of God, his empowerment to receive and dispense the Holy Spirit (Acts 2 :33).
Ascension teaches us about Jesus’ heavenly origin and his special relationship with his Father. He said once “ no one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of man”(Jn 3:13), in reference to “where he was before”(Jn 6:62) and whom to go and be with “ to my Father…my God” (Jn 20:17).
We can say, the Lord’s ascension tells us not only about His ascent to glory, but also about his going home to His Father, home to sit at His Father right hand.
Looking on, He was lifted up…
The Lord’s Ascension then invites us to take a certain posture in life, that of anticipation and hope. We look up, like the Apostles, not only to hold Him in high esteem but to look forward for Him to take us up, someday, to the place prepared for us. We anticipate and hope for his coming again because we long to be home too. After all He is also “our Father…our God“(Jn 14:2) and he assures us that he will take us up that “where I am, you also may be”(Jn 14:3).
But the Lord’s Ascension, I suppose, reminds us too, not only to look forward and to look up, but to look within as we think about “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise”(Phil.4:8). Let this be an occasion to look inside our hearts and ask ourselves if we truly have lived a life deserving to be at home with Him.
Therefore, this day poses a challenge for us to transcend from our mundane, pleasure seeking inclinations—from greed, self-centeredness, pride, etc, – and ascent to loftier “things of the above.”
– Fr. Jong Biton, SVD (Postulancy, DWS, Tagaytay City)
Source – Bible Diary 2020