This Sunday is Ascension Sunday! Yes, He ascended on a Thursday (40 days after Easter), but the Church celebrates it today. I have often contemplated what it means that Christ gave the “power of the keys” to the Church. That the Church can really bind our conscience under pain of sin! This is because, it means that to obey the Church, is to obey Jesus Christ. So yes, if the Church cuts you slack by moving a Holy Day of Obligation to Sunday, then it is Jesus, who has granted you that dispensation. Just as it is now, Jesus (in the person of the bishop) who has granted you the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day!
Once this pandemic passes, the bishop will be obliged to restore the Sunday obligation. I know that will be a tough habit for some to resume, but essential nonetheless.
But back to the Ascension. I was contemplating this today, and an image that came to mind was ski boots. Ski boots? No, Jesus didn’t ski.
I first went skiing in seventh grade at Ski Liberty. Over the next years, even through college, I would go once a year. It always involved renting skis/boots/poles. Let me tell you, rented ski boots are the most uncomfortable footwear ever. (Ladies, please no arguments about high-heels, I will concede you that, possibility, as I could never know). The single greatest moment of relief when skiing: taking off the ill-fitting, chafing, unclean boots at the end of the day.
What does that have to do with the Ascension? How do you think that it felt for the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Lord of the Universe to put on our flesh? Our flesh is way too small for His omnipresence, way too limited in brain for His omniscience, and way to weak for His omnipotence. I wouldn’t ‘blame’ Him, if on resurrecting He took off our humanity like an ill-fitting pair of ski boots. But He didn’t, doesn’t, and won’t.
He took our feeble, finite, flimsy flesh and took it with Him to the right hand of the throne of God the Father! Having become one with us, He does not shake us off but has given our human nature an otherwise inconceivable dignity: union with God.I think we usually fail to grasp the significance of God becoming man. A happy and blessed Ascension Sunday to you.
Pax et bonum,
Fr. John Mosimann