RISE UP & BE READY

May 16, 2021 – Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/051621-Ascension.cfm)

At the very hour of His death, Jesus said, “It is finished”. He is not saying, “I am finished” but rather He is just getting started.

Somehow these insights and thoughts offer us much deeper meaning and appreciation of our faith in the Lord’s resurrection. Easter proclaims the Lord has indeed risen. And this would mean that our risen Lord is not only alive in us but also He is not finished yet. After his death, then, and in His resurrection, His mission for our salvation was just getting started, not yet finished, and is still work in-progress. His suffering and death must have finished already, but our salvation through Him is still going on. Ours is a salvation story with the risen Lord, not of sad “endings and goodbyes” but rather of hopeful “beginning and to be continued”. Easter thus proclaims the risen Lord is not finished yet, and still just getting started. So Abangan, Be ready. There are yet more to happen and much better to yet to come in our Christian lives from now on and beyond.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension during Easter season. As what was described in our readings today, church tradition has it that forty days after the risen Christ have made Himself known appeared to the Apostles and stayed with them, given them many proofs of the resurrection, worked many miracles and had spoken to them and taught them of the Kingdom of God, the risen Lord now brought them into a high mountain. There, Jesus gave them his last words, blessed them, and he was lifted before their eyes, and a cloud received Him taken out of their sight. Such event is now what we Christians believe and proclaim the second glorious mystery: the Ascension of the Lord – the risen Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven, and seated at the right hand of the Father. 

Perhaps the best way to appreciate its meaning is to see the Lord’s Ascension, not from what had happened to Jesus and his disciples but from what Jesus said to his disciples. As our gospel suggests the Lord’s Ascension is the moment when the risen Lord blessed and commissioned His disciples to be his witnesses to the world and to continue the Mission he had begun. In the Lord’s Ascension, we remember then  the event when Jesus has now entrusted to His disciples all the good things he had begun. In other words, Jesus was handing down the responsibilities and sharing on the task of proclaiming the Good News to His disciples. It is just like Jesus saying in these words, “Guys, I have already done my part. This time, rise to the occasion and do your part. Go now, go ahead, move on to the world and proclaim that you are my witnesses and that I have given you the authority to share what you have experienced and learned from me, so that others may also enjoy what have you have enjoyed with me.  By the way, don’t forget to believe that I chose, trusted, and have sent you, for we can continue to do great things, if you believe in me and remain in my love. Go now and do your part, for I have already done and yet still doing my part.

Like Easter message, Lord’s ascension is about our Salvation not as a story of sad “endings and goodbyes” but rather of “beginnings and to be continued.” It is also about not mission-accomplished, but rather “mission still-on going in us & through us”,  and “mission-delegated to us” as well. Remember as the risen Lord ascended, the disciples went forth to do their tasks to preach everywhere while the Lord worked with them. Our salvation then is not a one-man operation but rather a joint-team effort, community-endeavor and church mission.  And Lord’s ascension also reminds us that our collaborative mission with the risen Lord is not all about looking at the sky but rather about working with our Lord in lifting up our endeavors to our Father.

During Easter season, we are called to believe in the Good News of Lord’s resurrection. Now, as we celebrate His Ascension, we are called to witness our faith in the risen Lord. Now is the time for us, Christians, not to look up but stand up and rise into the occasion and do our part in sharing and living our lives as witnesses to the Good News of Christ’s Redemption.

As Christians, we are and to be God’s gospel to be preached to all nation. Each one of us do have our own special mission in life. It is our responsibility to be what God has intended us to be here in this life now. Do our part in fulfilling our life-mission God called us to be.

So, rise up to the occasion, be responsible for our salvation, work with the risen Lord, take all our chances to preach our gospel of Christ to all nation, and do our part for the future of our salvation in our church nations and the world, especially during these pandemic times. Only then that our Salvation Saga with Christ lives on. So be it. Hinaut pa unta. Kabay pa. Siya nawa. Amen.

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