This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
The Ascension of the Lord
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The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me…”
What a show. Today is a special day. It is the day our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. It is not the day He abandoned us. On the contrary, it is the day He sent us…on our way to do exactly what He did his entire life: love those enslaved by sin.
It must have been breathtaking to watch our Lord ascend into heaven. There is something about us that inspires us to lift things up. Why? Only God knows why, but we sure as heck enjoy doing it.
It’s in our nature to lift things up.
And similar to how a father lifts his child in the air, so too our Heavenly Father lifted up His Son in the air.
This is deep, and we know it, for every time we lift a child up in the air we are telling them that they are special and more important than we are; that they matter more than we could ever matter and that they are above us.
So Jesus ascended into heaven. What a show! Very visual. That’s a good thing, for we need visuals in our lives. But we mustn’t get caught up in just the visuals. We need to grasp the hidden meaning contained in these spectacular events.
So what exactly is the Lord teaching us by means of His ascension into Heaven? I think it may very well be all the how to’s to get to heaven.
First you must descend before you can “ascend.” If you want to go up to heaven, then you must come down to earth. In other words, if you want to make it up to heaven, then you better start getting your hands dirty here on earth.
WE MUST SERVE.
This is an essential ingredient to rise up to heaven. There is no way around it. The only way we will ever make it to heaven is by accepting Jesus as our Lord; that is, by accepting what the Lord did and doing it ourselves. This means serving our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, enemies and detractors. We must love others like the Lord loves us.
Jesus came down from heaven to earth and got to work. He mixed his hands and feet in the filth and grime of a perverted world. He spoke with sinners. He healed lepers. He forgave his enemies. He got down to work and saved souls.
If we want to get to heaven, then we need to get to work.
Keep your heart and mind off the ground. We need to be extremely careful not to get our hearts and minds all messed up. BE CAREFUL. As we get our hands filthy with our work, we need to keep our hearts and minds away from the filth.
This world can easily entrap the human heart and mind and fill it with despair, anger, resentment, bitterness and hatred. Do not let this happen to you. It is really the worst thing that could ever happen to you! Imagine: Instead of rising up to heaven, you are pulled down into the filth and scum of the earth.
The remedy is simple: keep your head and heart above the filth. How? Through prayer and by faith, hope and love.
The Lord always climbed up mountains. Why? To be closer to His Father? To be closer to Heaven? No. Heaven is not a place. It is a person – Jesus Christ. He is larger than death, larger than earth, larger than human life!
Christ’s ascension into heaven reminds us that there is Life after death, life after earth, and life after time.
The reason why Christ continually climbed up mountains is so that he could keep His heart and mind above the cheering crowds, the gossiping Apostles and the intrigues of the Pharisees.
Think about it: The Lord ran up a mountain every single time the crowd wanted to make Him their king. He did this to keep himself above the “moment;” above worldly ambitions; above worldly desires. Christ did not want to fall victim to gossip or intrigue or calculation. He simply wanted to do His Father’s Will.
SO REMEMBER: AS YOU PLACE YOUR HANDS AND FEET IN THE MIX OF THINGS, YOU MUST REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR HEART AND MIND ABOVE ALL THINGS.
This is another essential ingredient to rise up to Heaven.
At the start of every Mass we are met with a crucifix held high above our heads. It is an eloquent reminder that the Lord, while with us, remains above us; and that while He serves us and heals us, He will not fall succumb to us and to our problems.
The Ascension of our Lord is a visible reminder given to us of what it takes to get into heaven. (126)
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