The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

05-13-2018Weekly ReflectionDeacon Andy Kresha

Steven Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, has as one of the habits, "Start with the end in mind". Where are we going in life? What do we want people to say about us at our own funeral service? Jesus started with the 'end in mind'. He followed his Father's will. Today we are about to end the Easter season liturgically with the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. We have reflected on the passion, death, and amazing resurrection accounts. Jesus has risen from the dead. We have celebrated the 40 days after the resurrection that Jesus spent as the reading from Acts of the Apostles says, "(Jesus) presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God". No ghost, Jesus ate and drank with his closest followers. He has shown them the nail marks and pierced side. He has been preparing them for something new, something powerful, something that will come from the Holy Spirit of God: the Pentecost and out-pouring of the grace of God's Spirit.

Today, we hear about Jesus' final teachings in Mark's Gospel: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." That calling was both for the disciples of Jesus who lived 2000 years ago and for us as well. This gospel is 'good news'. It is actually 'great news'! Let us share Jesus Christ with family, friends, and anyone who seems lost or discouraged.

Also, we hear about the amazing act of Jesus ascending from the earth into the clouds. The apostles are speechless. Yet even in that moment, Jesus sends two men in white garments (angels) to assure them that Jesus, now ascended, will return "in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven." Jesus is not going to heaven to rest. But if not, then what?

  1. He is taking his seat of power at the right hand of the Father. Think about the extreme and powerful love Jesus has to help and save us. Power indeed!
  2. He takes on his role as high priest once and for all as advocate for all of us people. He has completed the perfect sacrifice on the cross necessary to reconcile sinners for all times and places to the Father.
  3. Jesus prepares the way to send the Holy Spirit to strengthen the believers then and now. We will be baptized in the Holy Spirit, confirming us with sacramental grace that is poured into our hearts.
  4. Jesus promises that he will not leave us orphaned. He has promised "to be with us until the end of time." How can he be gone and still here? The Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit surround us with love and grace.
  5. Jesus will return as promised above. He will come back again as he has left. He will come to separate the sheep from the goats. He will judge hearts. The core question is, do we long for that deep relationship with our God more than any of our possessions or earthly relationships?

The great joy of this Easter season is that life without end is ours. It is promised. Do we want to be with the Lord for all eternity? Or are we somehow afraid and fearful? As John writes, perfect love casts out fear (1 Jn 4:18). Let us give up any favorite sins that we have that keep us from loving the Lord with our whole heart, whole soul, whole mind, and whole strength today. What a glorious day awaits us, when we will experience the fullness of the embrace of the Trinity of Love, if we long for God and act upon that desire day by day with humility and repentance.

Reflect today and this week about preparing with the 'end in mind' for our lives as we seek the holy and perfect will of Jesus, King of Heaven, High Priest, Advocate, Sender of the Holy Spirit, and Love itself.