Mission accomplished

May 14, 2010, 7:45pm

When we hear

the word “ascension,” we invariably think of “going up.”
And that’s what is conjured when we talk about the Ascension of Jesus, the feast we celebrate this Sunday.
In the 1960s, flushed from a successful flight to outer space, one Russian cosmonaut sarcastically remarked: “We’ve gone up to heaven, but we did not find God there.”
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The atheistic cosmonaut was speaking merely on the level of the physical and material.

There’s more to the Ascension than “going up” to the heavens. First, the Lord’s Ascension was His hour of glorification by the Father. After a fruitful life on earth, Jesus was exalted by His Heavenly Father.
* * *

Further, the time for His physical, visible presence in our midst was completed, but the time for His invisible and sacramental presence was beginning.
What is this mission? In the gospel today, Jesus says, “You are witnesses of these things.” (Lk 24,48).
The mission is to witness to Christ in the world, preach the Good News that God redeemed us, and to show by our love that He is always with us.
* * *

Our mission, as one theologian puts it, is not only to gaze up into the sky but also to “look down.”

I once took a bus bound for the Ilocos. In Carmen, Pangasinan, an old lady got in, dragging a lot of personal belongings. Hardly had she settled down when the conductor handed her a ticket for her fare. When the woman reached out her fare, the conductor said, “Lola, that’s not enough; remember this is an aircon bus.”
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To which the poor lady replied: “But that’s all I have, young man.” “Then I’ll let you off at the next bus stop,” the conductor snorted.
When the bus halted and the decrepit lady struggled with her belongings to go down, one of the passengers asked what was the problem. The conductor related her predicament.
* * *

The man quickly offered: “Ako na