Sunday, May 13, 2018

Only Half the Story

Today in many dioceses we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. The gospels tell us that Jesus ascended back to heaven from whence he came. He completed the mission. 

Most of us get that part of the story. We get that ascending he opened the way for us to enter heaven. It’s also safe to say that most of us readily believe that he remains with us. But in the reading from St. Augustine assigned for the Office of Readings, he reminds of the part we don’t often reflect on.  

   just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Do we ever stop to think that on a level beyond what the eye can see, we who are baptized into his body have already transcended this early life and participate in another life in heaven?

This is not simply a nice idea. It should impact how we live this earthly existence. Again, St. Augustine writes:

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? 

We must live in this world. We must be actively engaged in the problems and concerns of this world. But we should not allow ourselves to be drawn into the anger of this world. When we find ourselves being drawn toward the anger, it is the that we should recall what the ascension of Jesus means for us in the here and now. 

Our being “already in heaven” can enable us to rise above, to be in the world but not of the world. 

On this feast of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus, perhaps it would be a good thing to find some quiet time to consciously connect with our own otherworldliness.