Acts 1: 9-11
‘When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”’
We understand that the risen Jesus Christ continued to live for a certain time with his disciples, but that this time is over for the moment; he is hidden from their eyes, from our eyes… but he will come again at the end of time. The two men dressed in white suggest that we too choose not to stay still, “looking up towards heaven”, but to be present in the world as responsible men and women.
What are our responsibilities? To be witnesses across the land, by announcing the resurrection, making known the Good News of the gospel and baptising. At the ascension the apostles are first sent out on mission, followed by all people of all times. It is the connection between the desire of heaven and the service of men. The tympanum of the Church in Conques depicts Christ with his right hand raised, receiving graces from the Father so that his left hand lowered towards the earth might distribute them over all of us…
This feast reaches each of us where we are, whatever our situation
Let us pray. Lord, help us to stop attributing as much importance to passing things as to those which last; to live as people who are made for heaven; and to put all of our talents at Your service- helping others come to know You and striving to prepare for Your return. So that when You come again You will find faith on the earth!
Cardinal Godfried Daneels’ Prayer on the morning of the Ascension
Lord Jesus, when you ascended into heaven, the angels said to the eleven: “Do not stay there looking at the heavens!”
But forty days earlier, by the tomb, did not the same angels say to the women: “Do not look downwards! He is not here. He is risen.”?
Would it not have been fickle of the angels to change their minds so quickly?
What are we to do Lord Jesus: look downwards towards the earth or upwards towards the heavens?
Toward both, You tell us: “I am in heaven, so look upwards to me and pray. But I am also on earth in the poor, the weak, the ill and sinners. You still have so much to do down there, for them and for me, at least for the time being.
Lord Jesus, make us look to the heavens, without forgetting the earth, and vice versa. For every time that we do something on earth to serve one of our brothers whom you created, it is indeed You whom we are serving.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6