The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
On Thursday, May 25, 2017, the Universal Holy Mother Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven. But due to certain circumstances many of us were not able to leave our jobs and other essential duties to fulfill this Holy day of obligation, so some dioceses, included ours decided to move this Solemnity to this Sunday. Today’s Solemnity is of vital importance to our faith. Before our Lord ascended into heaven he called his Apostles and gave them the authority to go forth and baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In addition, he promised them the Spirit of Truth, the Advocate, who will teach them everything. He concluded by given then the assurance that he will be with them always. The Gospel of Matthew tells us, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
Let us reflect on the promise, “…behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”. It is a given that the Apostles were in a bitter-sweet mood here, they know that the Lord was leaving them; but at the same time it was to their own good that the Lord goes. I could see beyond the sentence and behold the love that flows from the heart of Jesus for his Apostles. He knows how sad his Apostles appeared to be, so to encourage them he made an eternal promise to them. To be with them till end of the age means to enjoy eternal life with the Lord in Heaven, but this would not come without the persecution that goes with it. So, apart from the Spirit of Truth, who will confirm and teach them everything, they are also in better hands – it goes with the saying that one with God is the greatest.
My brother and sister, how does this message resonate with us today? At our baptism, each of us was baptized in the Trinitarian formula – In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. This very rite removes our original sin. Saint Paul says that it makes you and me by adoption, sons and daughters of God. So, we too can spread the word of God to our troubled society and world by keeping the commandments as our Lord commanded his Apostles before he ascended to the right hand of his Father in heaven. This is our hope and this is why we are Christians. Amen!
Father Uche Obikwelu