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He is Seated at the Right Hand of God

{ Tags: , , , \ May22 }

Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfillment. We are already at “the last hour”. “Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.” Christ’s kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church. (CCC 670)

From the depths of Hades, the Lord moved upwards to the land of the living and beyond that to the right hand of the Father where He is now seated in glory “far above the principalities and powers”, as Paul would say. “From there, He will come again to judge the living and the dead”, we say as we profess the Creed. The Ascension of the Lord makes us look forward to His second coming and assures us of the glory that awaits us. In sum, we are already winners. That thought should make us more generous, more loving and caring in a world that gives us more reason to be selfish, unloving and uncaring. We know that the world is passing, that it does not have the last word. The last word belongs to the Lord; and He does not lie.

Below are articles I have posted both here and elsewhere that are relevant to the Feast of the Ascension. The first two articles are based on two passages from St. Paul that are about the new status of the Glorified and Exalted Christ. The article based on the longer ending of Mark was written in view of this year’s celebration of the Ascension. The last two articles are brief essays occassioned by the celebration of the feast during the two previous years.

Hymn to Christ Glorified (Col. 1:15-20)
The hymn to Christ as we now find it incorporated in the letter has been studied by many well known scholars. A list is provided in M. Horgan’s commentary on Colossians (JBC, 879 col. 1). It is a consensus that the language of OT wisdom (Proverbs 8, specifically) pervades the hymn with some possible gnostic echoes and rewritten so as to fit Christian convictions about the pre-eminence of Christ and his role as head of a new creation. Christ is after all the Wisdom of God (cf. 1 Cor. 1:24), the Word through whom all things have been created (cf. John 1:1-4). He has inherited the name above every other name and before Him all bow in worship (Phil. 2:9-11). The hymn in Colossians however point out something more: His place in the new creation.
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That You May Know (Eph. 1:15-23)
The text contains Paul’s prayer in behalf of the Ephesians. Thus, after an introduction (15-16), he tells the Ephesians that everytime he prays for them, he asks that God grant them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (17) so that with their eyes enlightened they may experience three things: the hope of their vocation, the wealth of their inheritance, the greatness of His power (18-19). This power, Paul explains, is the power that was operative in Christ’s resurrection (20a), enthronement (20b-21), the subordination of all under his feet (22a) and his becoming the head of the Church (22b), His Body, the Fullness that fills up everything (23).
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He Ascended into Heaven and is Seated at the Right Hand
In a previous article, we already mentioned the fact that the so-called Marcan ending is regarded as an addition at a later time to the original gospel that ended at 16:8. With the new ending at v. 20, the Marcan gospel was supplied with an ending that is similar to that of Luke. We already showed that there is some dependence between the Marcan longer ending with Luke-Acts especially as regards the signs that will accompany the work of the apostles. The first half of this “longer ending” narrates post-resurrection appearances of the Lord ending with the words of commissioning (v.18). Verses 19-20 can be divided as follows…
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From Ascension to Corpus Christi
After Ascension Sunday, Ordinary Time opens up with three solemnities, all connected to Easter. Below is a diagram of how I would present the relationships among all these feasts. The rest of the article is a reflection on the significance of each of the feasts.
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Some Thoughts on the Ascension
First, the Ascension is the basis for the hope that we too will be able to be with God in heaven. The old penny box catechism taught us that human life has three purposes: to love God, to serve Him in this life and to be with Him in heaven. This third purpose becomes clearer in the light of the Ascension which remembers the ascent of Christ as the climax of a life-journey spent among us. This is an aspect of Luke’s gospel that can be gleaned from the Gospel reading of the Feast of the Ascension.
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