I Am With You Always Till The End of Time

Today is Ascension Day. It marks the fortieth day since His resurrection and commemorates Christ’s Ascension into Heaven. This also marks the end of Rogationtide, which is a time when people pray for blessings to occur. Ascension Day is one of the earliest Christian festivals dating back to the year 68 AD.

Our Paschal candle, which was lit from the new fire of the Easter Vigil, will be extinguished, symbolising Christ’s departure from this earth. But this act far from signifies Christ’s departure from us.

Today’s liturgies celebrate the completion of the work of our salvation, the bond we have made with Christ, and His Ascension into Heaven with our human nature glorified.

Throughout the year we will be reminded of His promise; ‘to be with us, always, till the end of time,' each time the Paschal candle is lit for a Baptism or when placed by a coffin in preparation for burial, reminding us that we are baptised and buried into Christ.

Of Jesus’ last words before leaving His disciples, perhaps the most profound was His instruction "Go out to the whole world, and proclaim the good news to all creation." But He also foretold His departure.

In the Sermon of the Bread of Life, Jesus was aware that his disciples expressed concerns about the fact that they had to eat His flesh and drink His own blood. Jesus said to them: ‘Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?' (John.6:61-62).

And to Mary Magdalene, Jesus said: "Do not touch me, for I have not ascended to My Father yet, but go to my brethren, and say to them: I am ascending to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God" (John.20:17). And further in Ephesians (4:8-10) and First Timothy (3:16), the Ascension of Jesus is spoken of as fact.

Each of us is a steward of His creation. Each of us holds the responsibility and honour to care for our fellow man. This is why St Paul urges us to live our lives now as if we had already died, had risen, and had ascended with Christ.

Isn't this a time for us to reach out to a stranger, or someone who is suffering from loneliness and give of ourselves? Who knows, you may save a life as a result of your effort. 

Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to accept that, according to His promise, He abides with His Church on earth, even to the end of the ages. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with us, and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when He was taken up to Heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. After His suffering He presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, He ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This,’ He said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’

So when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, is this the time when You will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When He had said this, as they were watching, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. While He was going and they were gazing up toward Heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward Heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into Heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into Heaven.’
Acts 1:1-11

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