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Reflections on the Ascension

The hope to which we’re called.

Reflections on the Ascension: The hope to which we’re called.

On the feast of the Ascension, we are called to rejoice both in Jesus’ victory over sin and death and in the glorious life that he has secured for us. We pray that we would experience the new life that is ours in Christ.

Three aspects of that new life stand out in the Second Mass Reading for the feast: May you know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe (see Ephesians 1:18-19).

As Christians, our hope is secure because it rests in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Because Jesus has overcome sin forever, we can live in freedom and peace, no matter what situations we may face. We have been reconciled to God. We are no longer strangers. Every day, we can live in confidence, knowing that our God is with us to strengthen and comfort us.

Our hope is also founded in the inheritance Jesus won for us—none other than being with our Father forever, knowing him intimately, in all his splendor and beauty. In his ascension, Jesus has opened the door for us. Though we are sinners, we have been forgiven and redeemed. We are now fully loved and accepted as God’s children, and we will live with him forever.

As we live every day in the hope of our eternal inheritance, however, we can begin to taste these blessings here and now. This is part of the “immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe.” Before he returned to his Father, Jesus promised his disciples that anyone who believed in him would be able to cast out demons, heal the sick, and perform signs and wonders in his name (Mark 16:17-18). How? By the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is in our hearts, inviting us to yield to him and empowering us to live in the victory of the resurrection. No challenge is too great for a child of God!

As the disciples watched Jesus being lifted up to heaven, they might have been tempted to feel abandoned, and they might have panicked at seeing their risen Lord leaving the earth, leaving them for good. Now think of a time in your life when you felt as if Jesus had abandoned you. Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit—you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit . . . [and] you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:5, 8)—is meant for you, too, to bring you comfort and reassurance at just such a time.

Exercise your hope today by calling to mind Jesus’ death and resurrection and the salvation he won for you on the cross. Ask God for a powerful outpouring of his Spirit so that he can manifest his power in your life. Ask the Spirit to help you place your hope and confidence more fully in these truths.

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