Sunday after the Ascension
St Winefride's, Well Street, Holywell, Flintshire
Sunday 28th May 2017 at 1130am
Jesus has taken our humanity to the highest parts of Heaven. Where He goes mankind goes also because Jesus is the head of mankind. (Both as God – our Creator; and as God – our Redeemer) Through Christ not only are the gates of Heaven opened up for mankind, but men are invited to ascend with Jesus to the utmost heights of Heaven.
As Jesus walked this earth, He performed many miracles all testifying to His divinity. Nonetheless, it remained difficult for the apostles and disciples (and us) to conceive of this divinity, and they clung to Jesus in His humanity. It was necessary that Jesus should leave them and the Holy Ghost come upon them so that they could come to a better understanding and appreciation of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
St. Leo the Great says: “It was then, Dearly Beloved, the Son of man, the Son of God, became known in a more perfect, a holier, manner: when He betook Himself to the majestic glory of the Father, and in an ineffable way began to be more present to us in His Divinity, as His humanity became more remote to us. Then a more instructed faith began by way of the soul to draw nigh to that Son Who was equal with the Father, without need to touch and feel the bodily substance in Christ, in which He is less than the Father. For though the nature of His glorified Body remains, the faith of the believing began to be called whither the Only-Begotten Who is equal to the Father might be touched and felt, not by our bodily hand, but by the spiritual understanding.”
“It was because of this the Lord said to Mary Magdalene when she, representing the Church, drew near to touch Him: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father that is, ‘I do not wish you to approach me in a bodily manner, nor that you should know me by the feel of My Flesh: I would have you wait for what is higher; I am preparing for thee what is greater. When I have ascended to My Father then you shall touch me more perfectly and more truly, for you shall know what you touch not, and believe what you do not see.’”
The Apostles witnessed Our Lord ascending into Heaven and were instructed that in this same manner He will return to the earth. From that day until the end of time the true faithful await this second coming. At this time all the bodies of the dead will rise, reanimated with their souls, to stand before Christ as our judge. Those who have loved Jesus will be rejoicing that this day has arrived. All that has been seen and believed through faith will now been seen in the flesh. The Mystical Body of Christ (the Church) will be united with Her Head, Jesus Christ.
The world will be renewed or recreated; our bodies will be like to Christ’s Body with all His glorious attributes. With the devils and all evil now driven out, the earth will finally fulfill the desire of Her creator. The Garden of Paradise will have expanded with all its wonder and glory to encompass the entire earth.
The saints have always rejoiced in Christ’s ascension and now it is our turn. How wonderful it would have been to have seen, heard, touched and walked with our Lord when He was here on earth, but then our faith would have the obstacle of Christ’s Humanity constantly in the way of our seeing His Divinity. As it is God has chosen the exact and perfect time in history for us to live. History tells us that Jesus Christ is truly Human and our faith tells us that He is truly Divine. As we contemplate His Divinity and glory it fills our hearts with joy and entices us to do all that we can to follow Him there. As a reward for this our faith, we are given the hope to see Him in the glory of His Divine Human presence for the rest of eternity. Our souls will be filled with all their desires, and our bodies likewise will attain the fulfillment of all they desire.
As Christ, our Head has gone up into Heaven, we feel a certain loss and therefore sadness. At the same time there is great joy in knowing that Jesus is with His Father where He belongs and that soon – if we are faithful and love Him – we will one day be able to join Him forever. The sadness is also greatly mitigated because we have Christ’s promise of the Holy Ghost. Through this Third Person of the Blessed Trinity we obtain all the graces that we need to be able to believe and work so as to make this future glory, even now a present joy.