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Jesus’ Ascension

“Mission accomplished.” That’s the theme of this Sunday’s feast of Ascension.

Ascension, which marks the end of the Lord’s public ministry, does not mean that Christ is no longer with us.

The evangelist Matthew writes Jesus’ declaration: “I am with you always until the end of the world.”

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He is referring to the Lord’s invisible presence in our midst – his sacramental presence in the Mass as opposed to the visible presence limited by space and time when he was still in the world.

Jesus has gone away but, in another sense, he is still with us on earth.

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OUR FINAL DESTINY. Moreover, our Lord’s Ascension teaches us that our final destiny is not in this world but in the next life. Where he went, we will follow.

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There’s a noteworthy insight from the “Acts of the Apostles” (first reading of the Mass). The “the two men in white,” presumably angels, tell the disciples: “Why are you looking up to heaven? Jesus who has been taken up will come back as you have seen him go” (Acts 1,11).

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In the “interim period,” that is, the time between his Ascension and his return, we are told not to fix our concern solely on the afterlife but to establish “colonies of heaven” ALREADY here on earth.

Do you still remember the American actress Whoopi Goldberg who delighted millions of viewers in the highly-acclaimed movies “Ghost” and “Sister Act”?

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Every year Goldberg co-hosts a TV program “Comic Relief” to aid her country’s numerous homeless. It is only one of the many charitable projects she is involved in. She tells why in an interview: “I fear waking up one morning and finding out that my life was for nothing. We’re here for a reason and that is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”

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You don’t have to be a Whoopi Goldberg or a wealthy man to continue the mission of Christ in the world today. You can do it in whatever way you can.

ASK YOURSELF: Can I say to God at the end of my earthly life, “Lord, mission accomplished”?

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Once a devout lay minister died and off he went to the next life. There, one either goes to the top floor, heaven, where the righteous are rewarded with eternal bliss.

Those who have venial sins go to the second floor, purgatory, and the damned are herded to the basement, hell, where they are tormented with eternal punishment.

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Now the lay minister found himself in the second floor (purgatory). As he roamed about getting the feel of his new home, to his surprise he met his former parish priest.

“Father, I didn’t expect you to be here,” the excited parishioner blurted out. “Why aren’t you up there?” pointing to heaven.

“Ssshhhh, quiet, brod. Our bishop is down below us!” said the priest pointing to the basement.

Of course, that’s only a story and I hope our bishops will not condemn me to the basement!

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SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. It’s enrolment time again. We fervently request our generous readers to help needy seminarians we’re supporting under our “Adopt-A- Seminarian” scholarship program. You may chip in an amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling for one year.

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Those interested to help may e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com. (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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