Ascension Sunday Homilies

Mass Readings:

  • Acts 1: 1-11
  • Ps 47: God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
  • Ephesians 1: 17-23
  • Mark 16: 15-20

ASCENSION SUNDAY: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH by Fr. Robert Barron

  • We celebrate the transition of the resurrected Jesus from earth to Heaven.
  • What’s the relationship between earth & heaven?
  • NT Wright said we’ve been shaped by Enlightenment. 2 tier understanding – [1] God lives in a separate distant realm, deism view, very little real commerce between earth & heaven. Jesus has gone up up and away. Atheism sees it as wild fantasy.
  • The entire trajectory described in Enlightenment is completely unbiblical.
  • Scriptural authors, talking about heaven and earth, see it as tightly interwoven, not a two-tiered view. God is Lord of both heaven & earth. Both are integrated dimensions of the 1 creation. Jesus has not gone up up and away, but to heaven to direct operations on earth more fully, “thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”… Jesus has gone to a place that transcends ours but impinges on ours.
  • The ascension is all about the Church. 1st reading beginning of Acts. The missionary adventures of 1st christian disciples. The Church is effecting the eschatological realization.
  • Seat at right hand of king = seat of power, privilege, command. nations were governed from that seat. Church is governed from that seat of the seated & ascended Jesus.
  • Jesus is the one who directs operations from his seat at the right hand of God. Jesus is working with them, what we read in Acts. Feast of Ascension is the feast of the empowerment of the Church, where we’ve been given our marching orders.

My notes:

Acts 1: 1-11:

  • Our Lord’s ascension into heaven helps explain the present condition of his risen body:
    • CCC: Christ already reigns through the Church. . .

      668 “Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”549 Christ’s Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God’s power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”, for the Father “has put all things under his feet.”550 Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are “set forth” and transcendently fulfilled.551

      669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body.552 Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. The redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. “The kingdom of Christ [is] already present in mystery”, “on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom”.553

      670 Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfillment. We are already at “the last hour”.554 “Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.”555 Christ’s kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church

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