THE POWER AND NECESSITY OF THE ASCENSION A REFLECTION FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

Ascension of the Lord

Watching an aircraft take-off and cruise into the skies can be indeed very fascinating. As kids, older persons told us tales that those aircrafts actually enter into heaven and emerge again with all the passengers and their belongings. Imagine your first experience in an aircraft. The taking off with the sinking effects. Imagine also being up there enveloped by clouds and looking up and seeing the blue skies glistering with celestial brightness. Often one wonders if heaven is just few miles away.

Today we have an event that is very much related to being thrown into the air or be flown in an aircraft that goes deep into the clouds; the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ though not into the air but into heaven.

The verb “to ascend” means to rise or move to a higher point, degree or rank. To proceed from an inferior position to a superior one. To move or slope upwards as opposed to going downwards. The ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven has so much to teach us and we have so much to learn.

In the first place, it marks the exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ who first humbled himself taking the form of a slave (Phil.2:6-8). It is also a fulfilment of the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ: “I will go and prepare a place for you…” (John 14:2-3). It is further an assurance of the immediate 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 (who ascended) 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 third law of gravity, he stated 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.

Obviously, we all anticipate and look forward to various forms of “ascension” in our businesses, employment, careers, academics and even our moral and spiritual lives. These we cannot achieve by our self-imposed or self-motivated jumps. We ultimately need the ascended Lord to draw us up by his able hands. This simply means allowing God to orchestrate our ascension or success put in another way.

May the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ bring about our individual and collective “ascension” in various aspects of our lives. I wish you a completely blessed ascendable moments ahead.

Fr. Bonnie.

(fatherbonny@hotmail.com)

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