FEAST OF THE ASCENSION (May 26, 2022)

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“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be.” (John 14:3)

The Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, is one of the twelve (12) major holy days that the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches celebrate each year. Forty (40) days after the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, the Church commemorates the return of Our Lord and Savior to His Heavenly abode, the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ, Our Lord, the Son of God, has fulfilled the Holy Will of Our Heavenly Father. Jesus was sent by His Father to redeem mankind from sin, evil and death that separates us from our God and Creator.

We all have been created in the image and likeness of God. This original beauty and order given to us at Creation have been marred, disfigured, stained through sin. When Adam and Eve had sinned, of their own free will chose to not listen to God and act under the influence of the evil one, the harmony of creation was disrupted.  Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden of Paradise and were then to work by the sweat of their brow to live, for daily sustenance. God promised that one day He would send a Savior to redeem the world from sin and all its terrible consequences.

God did not forsake His creatures. He gave us the Law, the Ten Commandments, through Moses, so that we might truly become “His Chosen People.” Through the Mosaic Law, God was seeking to guide us onto the path of salvation – towards a life of good moral and upright living. The call was to love God above anyone and anything else (commandments 1,2 and 3) and to love our neighbor as ourselves (commandments 4-10). Besides this, God had sent to His Chosen People the Holy Prophets to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah in due time.

In the fulness of time God sent His Only-Begotten Son to redeem mankind from sin, to release sinful mankind from the clutches of the devil and to open wide the gates to the Heavenly Kingdom. With the Passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord, we were once again given access to the Heavenly Kingdom. In one of the icons of the Resurrection, “The Descent into Hades,” Jesus is shown lifting Adam and Eve from the abyss, from there “waiting place” known as “Hades.” In the singing of the Resurrection hymn “Christ is Risen”, we joyously sing this hymn of victory: “Christ is Risen from the dead, conquering death by death, and to those in the tombs (grave) bestowing life.” By His self-giving, self-sacrificial act of Love for us all, Jesus on the Cross makes “satisfaction” for sin and makes all creation anew.

The Lord’s mission of salvation has been accomplished. And this was done once and for all. Jesus alone is our Lord and Savior. There is no need to look for any other. While on earth, Our Compassionate Lord healed the sick and called the sinner to repentance and conversion. Jesus had given His disciples and us today an example to follow. The life of a true-believing Christian is not easy. It will be filled not only with times of gladness and joy, but also with sadness and suffering. But the Lord Jesus instructs us to take up our cross daily and to walk in His footsteps. For in the words of St. Paul throughout His epistles, we are told that if we “die and rise with Christ” here on earth, we shall die and rise to new life, eternal life with Christ in Heaven.

Before bidding farewell to the Apostles, the Lord tells them that He is returning home to the Father and He will ask the Father to send to them “another Advocate,” a “Comforter,” the Holy Spirit. This Spirit of Love and Truth will guide, guard and protect them on their earthly sojourn to the Heavenly Kingdom.

While on earth, we pray “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” We are called upon to encounter the Lord, to build up the Church, His Mystical Body, and to each personally development a close, spiritual relationship with Our Lord, God and Savior. We are members of His Mystical Body, the Church, who are called to continue to preach the Good News of salvation to all the nations and to baptize them in the Name of the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

On this Feast of the Holy Ascension of Our Lord, we celebrate the joyous return of the Son of God to the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. Amidst the shouts of victory, the sounds of the trumpets blaring, the Lord returns and “sits at the right hand of the Father,” and there He shall be until the Second and Glorious coming of the Lord. And on that day, He shall come again to judge the living and the dead. Our All-loving and Compassionate Lord once again does this on our behalf – to prepare a place for us so that we too may live forever in Heaven

May we graciously be deemed worthy of entry into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven where Absolute Love, Truth and Justice reign. For such is the Kingdom of God Eternal, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Rev. D. George Worschak

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