Last Sunday we celebrated the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. After 40 days of preparing his disciples for this final goodbye, He took them out as far as Bethany for His ascension into His throne. His ascension is the fruit of His crucifixion and so His heart was not actually embittered because of His dying. He knew all along that the Son of Man must suffer to enter His glory. For forty days our Lord has prepared the pillars of His Mystical Body, the Church and on His ascension, the Comforter will take His place in caring for His Church.
The ascension of Jesus into heaven is our hope that we can also possess heaven by virtue of our sharing in His divine life. His ascension clearly points out to us that our human nature will finally see the Creator of the Universe in all His glory. In heaven, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen puts it, “there will be no faith because we will see, there will be no hope because we will finally possess, but the will be love for God is love and His love endures forever.”
The Ascension event gave us hope that one day we can also share in the bliss of God’s kingdom. It is something that we must hope for to reach one day after our earthly life. God’s kingdom is the final destiny for all Christians who had been worthy servants and bearers of God’s good news of salvation. This is the ultimate challenge which needs to be given topmost priority in our lives. The challenge lies in front of us. Sad to say that, sometimes, we just find it so hard to take on this challenge.
We are all called to live our Christian lives and imitate the ways of Christ because this is the surest way to heaven. All of us have this fervent hope than one day we can share in the eternal happiness that Christ wants to share with us as our reward for following and walking the road that leads to Him.
But it seems, at times, that this is next to impossible because of our propensity to fall into sin. Sometimes we feel that this is a futile act because we always fail in following Him more closely. But God is so understanding that He will give us graces that we need for us to be able to bear His cross on our shoulders. What we need to do is to give up our lives to Him in surrender so that His graces will do the rest for us.
Our world today is in chaos and in sin. There is the presence of the global pandemic which shattered our lives in almost every aspect. Wherever we turn our gaze, we can see people living in sin and utter disregard for God. Our world today is not a perfect place to live in because violence, hatred, killings, disrespect, illnesses in almost every level of our existence, and envy flourish everywhere. But who is to blame for all these?
We continuously abuse our intelligence and gifts by doing exactly what is opposed to the Will of God. We continue to destroy one another because of our selfish interests and ambitions. Human lives are at stake and many have died already even those who were there to fight for the safety and well-being of other people. This kind of situation is an experience of HELL on earth!
We are hoping to enjoy eternal happiness in God’ kingdom when we die. But much greater challenge confronts us because the challenge for us, even if we are still alive, is how to make this world an experience of heaven on earth. If we can only be serious followers of Christ and make good in our efforts to live by His examples, then, we can make this world a heaven on earth. This is the challenge for all of us people of today because we really must renew our lives and live by the Gospel values and ideals.
Let us not just sit and watch and wait for the final judgment so we can reach heaven and be with God because we can experience heaven here in this earthly life if we can be good and real Christians. After all, God has never abandoned us, and He is still here with us in the first place. We just cannot see him because we are blinded by the gloss and glitters of this world. We just cannot hear Him because of the booming sound of noise that leads us to sin. How I wish that all is not lost for us to realize all these challenges in our Christian life.
Let us therefore pray to God to give us strength and courage so that we may be able to be vessels of His graces and thereby be instruments of His Good News and worthy heirs of His heavenly kingdom.