Day 2: the Ascension; Jesus is taken up to heaven.
Letters to the Philippians 2, 5-11
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The Creed starts again and continues with this statement of faith and this effort. In its simplest form, that of the Apostles Creed, the creed says in very simple words:
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; He ascended into heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come to judge the living and the dead.”
These words from the creed are very close to those we read in the hymn to the Philippians. There was this heavy rock, rolled on the tomb where He lays, bound by strips, deep in the bowels of the earth – in ‘hell’ as said the statement of belief. Christ, in his death and resurrection, goes deep into death…. but there is this impulse of freedom where He is taken up to heaven.
The Ascension is the completion of a kind of rising, from the slow ascent of life through changes in energy and transformation of the matter, then through the evolution of humanity in mastering its environment, the assertion of its freedom and the increasing awareness of its conscience, through the depths of evil and of death, until this point of darkness and incandescence where the Risen Christ fulfils this as He transfigures it. With love stronger than death, forgiveness is stronger than sin!
Contrast between death and life, captivity and freedom, the dying grain and the Bread. Reduced to dying on a cross, God rose Him higher than everything, states the hymn to the Philippians. This rise is situated at the exact scene of debasement, at the Mount of Olives where Jesus lived his agony. It is also from there God’s presence left to escort those of Juda on to their land of exile (Ez 11, 23-24); and it is also where Zechariah situates the advent of the kingdom (Zecharia 14,4).
Jesus, the day of your Ascension is an integral part of the amazing event of Easter.
Prayer for the morning of Ascension, by Cardinal Godfried Daneels
Lord Jesus, when you went up to heaven, the angels told the 11: “do not stay here, looking up to heaven.”
But 40 days before, near the tomb, did not the same angels tell the women ‘Do not look down! He is not here! He is risen”?
Are the angels so whimsical to change their minds this fast?
What to do Lord Jesus? Look down to earth or up toward heaven?
Both ways, You say: “I am from heaven, look up to heaven then; towards Me and pray. However, I am also on earth, in all the poor, the unimportant, the sick and the sinners. You still have so much to do down below, for them and for me, at least temporarily”.
Lord Jesus, help us look up to heaven, without forgetting the earth, and vice versa. Because all that we do on earth, to those who are yours, we also do it to You.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
1st day: the Ascension, forty days after the Resurrection
Post #2First released on May 22, 2019
Day 0: By our baptism, we have become temples of the Spirit
Post #1First released on May 21, 2019
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6