Solemnity of The Ascension of the Lord – A

Kuwait City, 30 May – 1 June 2014
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič

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

In his ascension, Jesus only left the world physically, but certainly not spiritually. The Lord promised to send his Holy Spirit upon his disciples to guide the Church and consecrate them in the truth (cf. Jn 17:19). Hence, the Lord is not only at the right hand of the Father, somewhere distant in the sky, he is constantly sitting at our right hand, accompanying us on our journey to heaven, towards Him. The Lord thereby reminds us to set our sights on the things that are above, to look towards the glorious future that awaits us and eternal life that he has promised us. Believing that Christ has preceded us in heaven and has prepared a place for us, is a huge comfort in this vale of tears and at the same time a great challenge in order to grow and become holier, to be able to become part of the company of saints one day.

Before ascending to heaven, Jesus entrusted his mission to his apostles. He didn’t leave them any money or other possessions, but he left them the beauty of his teachings and the wonderful example of his works. He handed over to them nothing less than his own exalted mission and thereby showed how much he trusts mankind. Jesus trusts in us and our capabilities more than we trust ourselves. He is betting on our capacity to do our best, to be like leaven in bread, the salt of the earth, the light of the world and a blessing to others, capable of getting up over and again after every setback.

This is therefore a great day of the Church, for we are all members of that same community of believers that initially received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Through our Baptism and Confirmation we have become sons and daughters of God and therefore we are part of God’s family. The Lord is with us, we have no reason to fear hardships, persecutions, misunderstandings, rejection, the crosses of life, because we can overcome them all in Him who overcame death for us and gives us eternal life.

The Ascension of the Lord teaches us that although Jesus remains invisible to our eyes, he nevertheless is always close at hand. Jesus is no longer present physically in the world, but he is the all abiding presence in us. Do we recognize his presence and allow him to change us for the better and work through us?

The final message of Jesus to his disciples and to each one of us is: I am with you always, until the end of the age. God is with us! It is important to believe and to announce this with our lives. We are so unworthy of God’s gift of himself, yet we can hold fast to this great hope and sign of trust that the Lord has in us. By confessing our belief that Jesus ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty (Apostles’ Creed) we live with confidence and hope, knowing that he is with us and we wish to love and serve him in our brothers and sisters in our journey towards eternity.

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