1.Acts 1:1-11
2. Eph 1:17-23
Lk 24:46-53

                   " Humble yourself in order that you may be exulted"
It was in one of the popular movies, one movie entitled: "Intersection, Starring Richard Gere and Sharon Stone, the following words appeared at the screen of the movie house, these words read as, " If today is your last day of your life, what would you change? What would you love? What would you decide?" Just on our part if we were  asked the same question, what would be our answer?

Dear brothers and sisters, today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord's Ascension into Heaven. When we hear the word 'ascension,' what comes into our minds in the first place? I think we immediately think of 'up' and that is what makes us confused when we talk about Jesus' ascension forty days after His Resurrection from the dead.

In our minds we always think of Jesus ascension as a ' going up' and this is our natural understanding about that fact. In the Apostles' Creed, we affirm this idea of ' going up', when we pray: " He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right of the Father."

The question is what is ascension is all about? It means that in the incarnation event, Jesus became man by the power of the Holy Spirit through Mary. Thus in this context ascension can't be explained as farewell party for Jesus. That Jesus will not come back or the termination of His redemptive works. Rather, it was His hour of glorification by the Father, the time for His physical and visible presence in our midst was completed but the time for His presence in its invisible and sacramental dimension has just started.

It is undeniable fact that Christ is no longer present to us physically and visibly, yet He is still here with us because He said: " Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me." Moreover, He said: " Whenever you gather in my name, I am in your midst."He had left the mission in their hands. This is what Jesus had instructed to them: "you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth,"(Acts 1:8); " Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..... And teaching  them to obey everything that I have commanded you..." ( Matt 28:19-20). These instructions are their mission to the whole world.
In the consecration of the Eucharist, the priest pronounces: " This is my Body........This is my Blood." Indeed the host and the wine becomes Christ's Body and Blood.
The time for Jesus' preparing His apostles for their mission of establishing His Church here on Earth was over, while the time for their participation in continuing that mission has just started also. In other words, His ascension was not just a farewell, but it was the handing of His followers' mission.

What is this mission that Jesus entrusts to His followers? this mission is no other than sharing the love of Jesus, to change the hearts of people, to witness to Christ in the world, preach the Good News that God has saved us and to lead them to repentance. But where and to whom do we evangelize?

There was a stained glass window which depicted the ascending Christ with clouds and open heavens and angels. Below that image were inscribed the words: " Glory to God in the Highest."
Nevertheless, some had thrown a stone and knocked out the " E" in the word " Highest." So the sentence read, " Glory to God in the High st." Actually this is the place where we are going to preach Jesus Christ and his message of salvation- on street children, on Alunan St. Quirino St and even long street.

Ascension reminds us of so many things. One is that ascension reminds us of our own mission. However, this is not the guarantee that we have to go to other nations and become missionaries. But rather we can stay right where we are and try to influence people around us by our good examples. Ascension reminds us of two important things we should have in life, that is, to look up or to look up to God and look down our eyes at people. 

Let us look up to God especially in making important decisions in our lives, to pray for his guidance on what to do with our lives. We should also learn to look down our eyes at people and be ready to help them. A saint said that when we are inside the church we close our hands in prayer but when we go out from the church we open our hands to help other people.

Thus Jesus is no longer Physically present to us, but He is spiritually present in our midst, we can challenge ourselves by putting this question before us that in what way Jesus is present to us? There are proofs that Jesus is present to us even up to today. He lives with us, and lives among us. Christ's presence among us is signified by the word SWAMPS. This word stands for the following:

S stands for Sacrament. Christ is present whenever we celebrate the sacrament of Eucharist, Christ is present when we were baptized, when we were confirmed, when a man and a woman exchanged vows with each other, and Christ is present when a priest is ordained.

W stands for Word of God. The word of God is living and it is really true. That is why Peter could exclaim to the Lord: " Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of everlasting life."
A stands for Assembly because the Lord said: "When two or three are gathered in my name I will be there in their midst."
M stands for Minister or Servant. Christ is present in the Bishop, in the Priest, in the Deacon, in the Catechist, in the lay cooperator, in the reader and in all those who serve the church.
P stands for Prayer. Christ is present not only when we assemble in  a community. Christ is present when we pray quietly, behind locked doors. He is also present in our solitude, when we meditate, and when we contemplate.

S stands for Service. Service is all about love. Service is forgiveness because the Lord said: " Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me." Every person is created in the image and likeness of God. What we do to others- the lost, the least and the last among us we do to God.

Let us bear in mind this word when we go home that SWAMPS stands for Sacraments, Word, Assembly, Minister, Prayer, and Service

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Chapisha Maoni