The Ascension of the Lord
May 16, 2021 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Sunday Reading Meditations
“Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven will return as you saw him go” (Acts 1:11).
Through the ascension, Jesus returned to the Father. Since that day, the Church has been waiting and praying for the return of her Lord: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’ […] The one who gives this testimony says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:17‒20).
Jesus is with the Father now but he still remains with us: “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).
Through the ascension, Christ fills everything with his presence. He is “the one who fills all things in every way” (Eph 1:23). Jesus can be found everywhere.
Saint Paul says that Jesus holds everything together (cf. Col 1:17). Christ is the hidden center, around which everything gravitates. Jesus invites everyone to join him in his intimacy with the Father, leading all creatures and the entire cosmos to fulfillment.
Our destiny is glorious: “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” (Eph 1:18).
Through the ascension, Christ can be known in all things, in the Church that is his body and then in all creation. Our knowledge of Christ is experiential. To know everything in Christ transfigures reality, rendering all things glorious!
Saint Paul says: “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” (Eph 1:17).
To know Christ, we need enlightenment of our inner senses: “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” (Eph 1:18). The enlightenment of our inner senses is the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
As Saint John Paul II said, “from his throne of glory, Jesus sends out to the whole Church a message of hope and a call to holiness.”
The ascension marks the beginning of the mission of the Church. Before leaving the apostles, Jesus tells them: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19). The horizon of the mission of the Church is the ends of the earth.
Happiness and joy in the knowledge of Christ are for sharing with everyone. The sacred treasure of the glory of Jesus is open to all mankind. We proclaim to all that our lives find true fulfillment in Christ.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of the Assumption, may we obtain the grace to experience the power of Jesus’ resurrection. May she help us to lift up our hearts toward the great and infinite. May she teach us how to know Christ and proclaim him to the world. Amen.