Mumbai Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) | THE WONDER OF ASCENSION


12th June, 2017
Mr. Francis D'souza (Courtesy Charisindia Magazine) THE WONDER OF ASCENSION

The four supernatural events that have shown the way of salvation to a despairing world are: Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and Ascension. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus in which God became man. At Good Friday we look at the death of Jesus on the cross where the penalty of our sins was paid. Easter is a feast when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead because of which the power of death was broken. In this article we will reflect on the fourth event ‘The Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ’. It is my prayer that we realize the paramount importance of this event.
In the first place ascension is not an appendix to Jesus’ life, rather it is integral to His mission and to an understanding of the mystery of our redemption.
The ascension of the Lord took place forty days after His resurrection from the dead. This feast of Ascension which is celebrated one Sunday prior to Pentecost Sunday does not so much concentrate on the departure of Jesus from the sorrowful disciples rather on the new and powerful way in which he would be present with the Church and the followers.
The visible and dramatic ascension of Christ however was the necessary sequel and seal of His resurrection as it was the appropriate connecting link between His humiliation and glorification (Phil 2:5-11).
This feast may also be seen as a celebration of the consummation of His redemptive work as well as the beginning of the work of the Church. The Church constitutes each of his followers (1 Cor 3:16). Further, we know the mission of the Church from the great commission given by the Lord Himself in Matt 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – the work of Evangelization.”
The Evangelii Nuntiandi in paragraph 14 too spells out the mission of the Church in the following words – “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.”
The blessings of ascension
  1. The ascension marked the beginning of Christ's intercession for His followers at the right hand of God. There He makes continual intercession for all believers. “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Heb 7:25 along with Rom 8:34)
Consequently our faith in Jesus’ promises in Matt 7:7 & John 16:24 soar to new heights.
  1. Followers of Christ enjoy peace, hope, and security because Christ is their advocate with the Father
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1). We also find new and fuller meaning in the comforting words of Psa 73:25 because when we are surrounded by the confusing and troubling circumstances of life, we can turn to the Lord. We can remind ourselves that Jesus having been given complete authority is in complete control and will take care of us. It would be useless to look elsewhere for something that God alone can give.
  1. The ascension set in motion the coming of the Holy Spirit with His gifts for believers.
“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7). We are assured of the enablement and empowerment that comes through the Holy Spirit. This happens because the Holy Spirit Himself is a gift of the Father (Acts 1:4) and because of the numerous gifts He brings with Him.  
  1. He has gone to prepare a place for them.
“I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2).
  1. Finally, the ascension of Christ is the pledge of His second coming: "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Jesus will return to earth in bodily form just as He ascended into heaven.
The feast of Ascension can also be a reminder of our work to spread the good news about Jesus and hence we need to ask ourselves if we are continuing the work Jesus started. Yes we will have obstacles, hardships, difficulties and even persecutions along the way. At the same time we also have the assurance of the continual - anytime anywhere presence of Jesus.  
He who came to save us, He who bled and died,
Now is crowned with glory at His Father's side;
Nevermore to suffer, nevermore to die,
Jesus, King of glory, is gone up on high.