Jesus went up to heaven and sits at the right hand of God. That is why we gaze on him, the same one who also came down to earth.
To rise with Christ means to seek what is in heaven (Col 3, 1). But after the ascension, the eleven go forth to preach. Is it due to their being asked, “Why are you standing there looking up to heaven?”
Such question seems to say there is much work for the apostles, not above, but below. They are only to look up to see to it that what they do here matches what is up there (Ex 25, 40; Heb 8, 5). The Father’s kingdom come, yes; his will be done on earth as in heaven. So then, they are encouraged to make this world better, to build a more human world (GS 39. 57)
Jesus went up to heaven, yes, and left us here to preach the Good News. And there is the reminder that to “go up” also means to go down to earth (Eph 4,9). It could be a way to spur us on to accept our mission. That is to say, to stay in the flesh for others’ good, rather than leave to be with Christ (Phil 1, 23-25).
But what is certain is that, no matter our choice, we are to see to it that Jesus fills all things (Eph 4, 10). We should pray that we and others have the fullness of God (Eph 3, 19). That we all be human to the full in the measure of Christ’s fullness (Eph 4, 13).
To live in world like Christ means to go up to heaven like him.
The Son of God came down from heaven to show humanity at its best due to repentance, renewal, ascent. The Word embodied justice, peace and supportive love. He did not look out for number one. To be the last and the slave of all was what he took upon himself. And in the end, he gave up his body and shed his blood for others. Hence, God raised him; the Son went up to heaven.
We Christians, of course, are urged to have the same attitude as Christ. That is to say, we have to change the way we think, feel, behave, so that it is the Teacher’s. Not that of the world. We will go about doing good. Far be it from us to be like the snails that would rather look out for themselves. We will relieve the sufferings of those before us that God shows us (SV.EN XII:81-82).
No, we shall not give in to the world’s selfishness and greed. We will empty ourselves to put on Jesus Christ (SV.EN XI:311). If we lack compassion, a sure sign that Christ is not with us, we will be caricatures of a Christian, we will not even be human (SV.EN XII:222). Neither shall we rise nor go up to heaven.
Lord Jesus, make us, as we look up to heaven, strive to build a world that is more fit for humans.
16 May 2021
Ascension of the Lord (B)
Acts 1, 1-11; Eph 1, 17-23; Mk 16, 15-20