The cross of Jesus Christ is at the heart of our Christian faith. Christ offered the sacrifice by which we are offered forgiveness for sins and union with God. But the work of God doesn’t stop there. The Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday shows us that the mission continues. Easter is our promise of resurrection and eternal life. The Church gives us the Easter season to help us remember the history.
After that first Easter Sunday Christ spent forty days with the apostles (Acts 1:1 – 11) explaining what He wanted them to do. What He wanted was for them to found the Church and spread His teachings, “whoever loves me obeys my commands.” (John 14:15, John 14:21).
An interesting part of the Ascension of our Lord is St. Mathew’s description. Christ takes the apostles up the hill and before He ascends to heaven He says;
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Mathew 28:19 – 20)
Think about what Christ is saying. He is returning to His Father in heaven, but He will be with us here. How does that happen? We remember what Christ said at the last supper, “I am the vine you are the branches.” (John 15:5). Christ is here in the Church, His body. We also remember that the sacraments are all actions of Jesus Christ.
This is especially true in the celebration of Mass. At Mass, by the words of Christ bread and wine become His body and blood. The Eucharist is the enduring presence of Christ in the world. When we go to confession it is Christ who forgives our sins. An important point of Ascension Feast is that Christ is here because we, as the Church, are His body. We cannot have a religion that is me and God. We have to come to God as a community. We have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters in the faith. We need to be aware of the teaching we receive from what Christ gave to the apostles, who passed that on to the Church. We need to be aware of the presence of Christ among us here and now.