Daily Reflection – May 8, 2016
Sunday 8 May 2016
First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord
Psalm 46(47):2-3, 6-9
Second Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23 or Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel Reading: Luke 24:46-53
Today’s Note: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you;
but stay in the city
until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany,
raised his hands, and blessed them.
As he blessed them he parted from them
and was taken up to heaven.
They did him homage
and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.
As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. (Acts 1:9)
At the Last Supper, when Jesus told the apostles that he was leaving, they were deeply disturbed (John 14:1). Yet after the Ascension, they were filled with joy (Luke 24:52). Why the change?
The apostles’ sadness gave way to joy because of two promises Jesus had made to them: that he would be with them always and that after returning to his Father’s house, he would prepare a place for them (Matthew 28:20; John 14:2-3). It’s this second promise that we celebrate today. Jesus has ascended to heaven, and through his Spirit, he is preparing us for the day when he comes again in glory.
When Jesus ascended, he made all the angels subject to him (1 Peter 3:22; Ephesians 1:21). This means not only those angels who had already submitted to Jesus, it also means the fallen angels who serve the devil. Enthroned in heaven, Jesus has the power to restrain their malice and protect us from them. That’s why he taught us to pray, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).
When Jesus ascended to heaven, his intercessory work for the Church continued. He is our advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1). This is no small task. It means that Jesus is always going to his Father on our behalf. It means that we will always have access to God’s presence – whether we are doing well or not so well.
The ascended Christ has also empowered his Church to fulfil its mission. Paul said that God has made Jesus “head over all things,” including “the church” (Ephesians 1:22). This means that we can trust Jesus and have great confidence in him, no matter how bleak things look. Jesus is in heaven. He is interceding for us. He has overcome even the demons. He is supreme over all creation. And best of all, he will never, ever abandon us. Isn’t that comforting?
“Jesus, I put my hope and trust in you.”