“So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)
Today, being exactly forty days since we celebrated Easter, is the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know that after Christ rose from the dead, he continued to appear to his disciples, instructing them, strengthening them and promising them the Holy Spirit until the day He was taken up into heaven before their very eyes.
Both St. Luke and St. Mark narrates how Jesus even while speaking to the disciples was taken up into heaven as they stood to watch him. St. Luke mentions how they stood there for a while until two Angels appeared telling them to stop looking into the sky because Jesus was surely coming back. While Mark goes further to say Jesus was taken into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. This added detail stems from the vision of heaven as seen by Stephen the Martyr during his trial. (Acts 7:56)
We know that Christ died, that he rose from the dead and that after forty days he ascended to heaven. So what does this imply for us? St. Paul perfectly answers this question in today’s second reading by admonishing us to lead lives worthy of our calling.
In purely spiritual terms, we can say that Christ’s life was extremely successful because he led a life worthy of his call. Like Christ, when we lead good lives, we would not only run the good race but finish well by taking our rightful place in God’s kingdom. Our own ascension will happen after we have been judged fit for heaven.
In other, for us to lead lives worthy of our calling, Christ bestowed certain powerful gifts to us. As St. Paul noted: “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Every one of us has a special gift. If we do not rightfully employ our gifts for the work of ministry and for the building up of the body of Christ, we would be failing to lead lives worthy of our call. Furthermore, if we decide to employ our gifts for the sole purpose of entertainment or money-making avenues, we would be deviating from God’s plan for us.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, as you ascended to heaven, may I be worthy to ascend to your bosom after completing the race you set before me on earth. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 4:1-13 and Mark 16:15-20