Ascension of our Lord

Ascension  Sunday Sunday

28  May  2017

(Acts 1:1-11;  Eph  1:17-23;  Mt  28:16-20)

As the  Apostles were looking on, Jesus was lifted up. Today  we  celebrate  the  day  of the  Ascension  of the  Lord  into  heaven  that  is  traceable  in  the  4th century’s  writings  of  Eusebius  and  5th  century  with St.  Augustine.

We  first  need  to  understand  that  the time  between  resurrection  and  ascension  was  not  40 days  but  Luke  uses  the  number  40  in  accordance  to the  meaning  of  it  among  the  Jews.  After  Jews  Paschal,  they  had  another feast  that  would  come  after  40  days  (Yom  habikkurim)  when  the  Jews used  to  take  their  first  fruits  for  blessings  and  we  find  it  when  the  feast  of Ascension  was  born  it  was characterized  by  blessing  of  beans  and  grapes as  the  first  fruits.  Candles  were  blessed  while  the  Easter  candle  is extinguished.  There  was  procession  with  torches  and  banners  (symbol  of lion  stepping  on  the  dragon  as  a  sign  of  Jesus’  victory)  to  commemorate Christ’s  entry  into  heaven.  This  was  the  only  day  the  deacons  and subdeacons  would  wear  mitre  like  that  of  the  bishop.

The  Pentecost (Shavu’ot)  was  on  the  50th  day  that  they  would  offer  new  meat  (Leviticus 23.16)  and  two  loaves  baked  with  leaven  (Leviticus  23.17)  of  bread,  as offering  to  the  Lord  17.  These  days  were  adapted  by  the  Church  Fathers in  order  to  lure  the  Jews  as  they  did  with  the  feast  day  of  the  Sun, Sunday.

I  believe  many  of  us  have  had  an  experience  of  escorting  somebody they  love  to  the  airport  or  train  station.  When  these  people  board  the  train or  they  check  in,  we  are  left  there  with  a  feeling  of  “missment.”  Some people  end  up  arriving  their  destination  even  before  those  who  escorted them  arrived  back  home.  When  you  call  to  say  you’ve  arrived  they  tell you,  actually  we  are  still  taking  coffee  at  the  airport!  I  wouldn’t  like  to say of those who  remain at  the cemetery hours  after the  funeral.

That  is  what  happened  to  the  disciples  when  Jesus  ascended  into heaven.  They  were  in  that  state  “missment”  and  actually  Jesus  arrived into  heaven  and  watching  down  he  saw  they  were  still  there  looking  at the sky.  He  had  to send his  messengers  to  come and  tell  them  to go  home. Some  say  that  Jesus  made  the  two  fingers  sign  (nowadays  we  term  as victory  sign  if  not  FORD  ASILI)  before  flying  and  was  misinterpreted  to have  meant  ‘Give  me  two  minutes’  but  the  expectantly  waiting  became two  hours,  two  days,  two  weeks,  two  years,  and  even  in  the  year  2000 there  were  people  waiting. That  is  the  best  thing  with  Hope.  Time  is inexistence!

(I don’t intend to be Rastafarian but I love Jah)

But  what  is  important  is  to  do  as  Jesus  commanded,  that  is,  to  go  out and  make  disciples  of  all  nations,  baptizing  and  teaching  them  to  observe all  Jesus  taught  trusting  that  Jesus  is  still  with  us  till  the  end  of  the  ages.

Unfortunately,  this  command  is  not  obeyed  enough.  Actually,  too  many Christians  are  no  longer  fishers  of  men  but  keepers  of  the  aquarium  if not tourist.

His  presence  is  to  be  experienced  in  the  Holy  Spirit.  Thus,  he commanded  the  disciples  not  to  depart  from  Jerusalem  before  receiving the  “the  promise  of  the  Father,”  the  Holy  Spirit.  Jesus  is  seated  at  the right hand  of the Father and  He has  all  power in heaven  and  on  earth.

We  conclude  with  the  blessing  of  St.  Paul  to  the  Ephesians  and  us today.

Dearly  beloved,  may  the  God  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  the  Father of  glory,  give  you  a  Spirit  of  wisdom  and  revelation  resulting  in knowledge  of  him.  May  the  eyes  of  your  hearts  be  enlightened,  that  you may  know  what  is  the  hope  that  belongs  to  his  call,  what  are  the  riches  of glory  in  his  inheritance  among  the  holy  ones,  and  what  is  the  surpassing greatness  of  his  power  for  us  who  believe,  in  accord  with  the  exercise  of his  great  might,  which  he  worked  in  Christ,  raising  him  from  the  dead and  seating  him  at  his  right  hand  in  the  heavens,  far  above  every principality,  authority,  power,  and  dominion,  and  every  name  that  is named  not  only  in  this  age  but  also  in  the  one  to  come.  And  he  put  all things  beneath  his  feet  and  gave  him  as  head over  all  things  to  the  church,  which  is  his  body, the  fullness  of  the  one  who  fills  all  things  in every way. Amen

St.  Therese of Lisieux,  pray for us. 


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