Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (2015)

What was the message that Jesus was giving when He spoke about the signs of those who believed? Well, the message was that His people could fight and conquer evil in its worst forms. As simple as this. Jesus used snakes to represent the devil.  His followers, those who believe in Him, could take on and beat off the devil. He used poison to represent the evil of the world, not just a poisonous potion, but the poison that is hatred, the poison that is materialism, prejudice, alcoholism, the drug culture, the sex culture, and on and on. Jesus said that His followers would be able to take on the poison of the world and defeat it[1].

Then He ascended into heaven. Peter and the apostles didn’t grieve that Jesus was gone. Mary Magdalene and the women didn’t resume their crying.  No, they were too busy. Instead, they got to work and proclaimed the wonders and the beauties of Jesus’ life.  The devil went after them in full battle array. He tortured them, and convinced others to expel them from their communities. He talked others into killing them. But the devil didn’t win. He couldn’t stop the work of the Kingdom of God.  The followers of Jesus beat off the snake. All the evil of the world went to war against them. The poisons that destroy the soul, that destroy life attacked them.  The Christians didn’t go into hiding.  They took on the poison of the world and found a life free of evil, a life of meaning, the Christian life.

Jesus ascends to heaven and then says to us: “Get to work. Fight off the snake, the devil.  Fight off poisons of the world.  You can win these victories. You can win them because I really haven’t left you. I am with you. My spirit, the Holy Spirit, strengthens you.

We all have poisons that we have to fight off in our lives.  We all have our own demons. Some are of our own making.  Some are imposed upon us by others or by situations beyond our control.  One person wages a continual battle against alcohol. Another against drugs.  One is fighting to be in a Christian relationship with his girlfriend or her boyfriend.  Another is fighting against his or her own selfishness. We will win against the evil of the world because we have the greatest weapon there ever was.  We possess Jesus Christ.

Jesus ascends into heaven and assumes His place as Lord of heaven and earth.  What does that mean, “Lord”.  It means that He has the power to win, to beat off evil. It means that He is in control.  He is our Lord.  He is the one who fights for us and with us.
Snakes will attack. Poison will be forced down our throats.  But we, the people of the Ascended Lord will beat it all off.  How?  Well, the gospel explains how in its last words: the Lord worked with them and confirmed the Word.

We don’t wage this war alone. We fight with the might of the Lord Jesus Christ. And with Him on our side, how can we possibly lose?

[1] The Ascension of the Lord (7th Easter B), May 17, 2015. Readings: Acts 1:1-11 (Ascension); Responsorial Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9;  Ephesians 1:17-23; Mark 16:15-20.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris