Sunday, June 8, 2014

Friend, come up higher!


The ascension of the Lord Jesus is his exaltation and enthronement as Lord and King. On this day, Jesus returned to heaven from where he came: “No one ascends into heaven except the one who descended from heaven: the Son of Man who is in heaven.” His return to heaven happened in a manner that was seen by those who were present: “as they were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud took him from their sight.” He was lifted up. Who of us would forget that the Lord himself referred to himself being lifted up like that bronze serpent which Moses lifted up in the desert to save those who were bitten by the snakes: As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so will the Son of Man be lifted up. By this, the Lord referred to his death on the Cross. Ironically, the Cross was devised by the Romans as an instrument of both death and shame. However, to Jesus, the Cross became the instrument of his exaltation. Today, the one who descended into the depths of humiliation is now exalted before his disciples. Did not our Lord referred to this when he spoke of the etiquette which his disciples must observe when invited to a banquet: When invited to a banquet, seek the lowest place so that the host may approach you and say, “Friend, come up higher.” And thus shall you be exalted in the sight of the others in the banquet. The Lord Jesus who emptied himself of his glory, took the form of a human slave. He humiliated himself even further by obediently accepting death on the Cross. And because of this God exalted him and gave him a Name which is above all other names. He who emptied himself is now clothed with power: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He who descended from heaven is now seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. He who washed his disciples’ feet is now crowned as King of kings and Lord of lords. He who sought the lowest place was exalted in the sight of his friends.

And this is the Gospel that we were sent to proclaim. We are tasked to make disciples of all nations because all nations belong to him. All authority in heaven and on earth was given to him. To make disciples of all nations simply is to restore to the Lord Jesus what truly belongs to him. To teach all nations to observe all that he has commanded us is simply to give to the Lord the obedience that is due to him as King and Lord. The Lord reigns in the Church. The Lord reigns through the Church. The Church is the beginning of the Kingdom of Jesus on earth. The Church is the instrument for the spread of Christ’s Kingship on earth. Saint Paul said: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the Church which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.”

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. 

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