Posted by: Fr Chris | May 26, 2022

Christ ascends in glory!

Jesus leaves, but with promises in the four gospels and Acts:

I will send you an advocate, and You will be clothed with power from on high

I am with you always, as it says in the kontakion, from Matthew chapter 28.

And from the two angels, who represent Moses and Elijah: He will come back.  

When they go back to Jerusalem, they do not go back in distress, but in anticipation. They are already being transformed after the 40 days of Christ being with them on and off, from the group of frightened men to becoming the apostles who will transform the Roman and Persian empires with their preaching. They start their nine days of prayer but in full confidence – they don’t know if it will be 9 days or 90 but they go into the upper room and the temple and start praying joyfully. We know they spend a lot of time praying as on Pentecost the 120 men and women are praying together when the Holy Spirit comes upon them.

The messages of Ascension Thursday are a few:  

  1. Have faith and confidence. Jesus is with us always, until the end of the world.
  2. He will indeed return.
  3. His promises to the apostles were fulfilled, and so are His promises to us.
  4. He shows the way we will all go: indeed, we will die, just as he had to die, but with a purpose, to go to heaven and to the Father.

We are made for more than this fallen, broken world. We are made to live a life of glory, a life that we can barely taste here. We are made to go forward spiritually, but not on our own. We are made for God, and to transform this world by being His disciples.

One of the big problems today is that people have forgotten that we are all made in God’s image, that we are all God’s children, that we all have a place as members of the human race, the human brotherhood, to be united in charity here on earth and to live in such a way that we will be transformed, and help others to transform themselves, through the power of God. We are plagued with violence, discrimination, hatred, crime,  poverty, and various wild ideas while forgetting our unique status on this planet as  God’s people. The liturgical year moves us toward Pentecost, when 120 people who had trusted in Jesus’ promises were praying together. We are meant to be a nation of prayer – not just America but the whole world as a nation of prayer – in order to live in such a way so that when it is our turn to die, the gates of heaven are opened to us individually. Christ is with us always, not just in good times but in all times. Christ invites us to accept the comforter, the Holy Spirit. Christ wants us to follow Him in our life style, and also to follow Him into glory. Now in these 9 days: what do I need to do in order to fulfill just that? We can make this time of the first novena an opportunity, a great moment in our lives, to move closer to Jesus, to be nearer Him, and more like Him, as we await His spirit. Christ is among us.

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