PEDAGOGY OF THE ASCENSION: HOMILY FOR ASCENSION THURSDAY Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

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Criss Angel is one of the most mind freaking magicians and trick masters in the world. He had done a lot of magical displays that kept people awestricken. He had walked through a locked glass window, he had walked on a swimming pool as if he was walking on a bare floor, and he had been seen levitating into the air. Attentive look at these would show that he attempted to play JESUS CHRIST in some ways like our Lord entered into a locked room, like he walked on the sea and like he ascended into heaven. It is indeed good to know that Criss only played tricks which many have succeeded in busting.

As a kid, I was very fond of one of my uncles. The reason for my avid fondness of him was for the singular fact that he took interest in throwing me up in the air and catching me mid-air. I believe that children generally are very much captivated and amused when they are thrown up into the air and caught mid-air. Today we have an event that is very much related to being thrown into the air; the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ though not into the air but into heaven.

The ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven has so much to teach us and we have so much to learn in turn. In the first place it is confirmation of the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ: “I will go and prepare a place for you…” (John 14:2-3). Next, it is confirmation and assurance of the coming of the Holy Spirit: Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7).  

The ascension functions in redirecting our focus. We are given a sustained idea of where our help should come from. In line with this, St. Paul advised: “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col.3:1). The ascension here becomes more of an active spiritual antenna directing us forward and heavenward. In this way, we are discouraged from undue advertence to things below; mundane and perishable commodities become obsolete with the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Newtonian law of gravity seems to have relevance within the framework of the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Newtonian law of gravity, he stated among other things that: “Whatever goes up must surely come down!” Applied to the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, we believe that he will come back again as he ascended into heaven. This means that we have to await his coming not by idly gazing into the skies like those who were there on the ascension site (Acts.1:9-11). Instead, we are advised to go about preparing ourselves by following the instructions he gave to us while he was on earth and living according to his will.

        The ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ is a productive divine energy bringing about our own individual and communal ascension above the devil and sin, above matter and misery, above darkness and damnation. We obviously cannot have an ascended Lord while living a descended life. We cannot have a glorified Lord while we remain unpopular and unfamed. Let us then connect actively with our ascended Lord and thus experience the much anticipated rising in every corner of our lives.

I wish you a completely blessed and hallowed celebration.

Fr. Bonnie.

(fatherbonny@hotmail.com)  

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