Sunday, June 5, 2011
Today is the feast of the Ascension. This feast day was moved from Thursday to Sunday to give it more of its deserved attention. At the time of the Ascension, Christ was taken bodily up into heaven, prayed to his Father, and gave words of reassurance to His disciples. In so doing, He left the earth and the disciples to do their work.
Like many events that are recorded in the Bible, this is not really dramatized as are remarkable events that appear in modern media. It was stated in reverent, sober terms. Despite that, many scholars criticize the reality of this event and other miracles that occurred during Jesus' time on earth. The scholars seem to be convinced by their research and education that they can judge the impossibility of a human body going into the sky, and into the heavenly realm.
My response to that is that my faith tells me that this did occur, just as recorded in the Bible. I see no reason to doubt the possibility of this or any other supernatural event or miracle. If I have sufficient faith and humility and respect for the teachings of generations of faithful who went before me, I just don't have a problem with this. It can engender a great deal of reflection, marvel, and seeming disbelief, in light of my educational achievements. But science is composed of theories. Our very perception is in an experiential realm. We don't actually possess our seeing, our hearing, or our feeling. They are, as science teaches us, merely perceptions that register in the outer layer of our brain called the cortex. I feel that faith progress is not achieved with the same tools as that of science. I feel that the tools of faith are the tools of Godliness, being the faithful men and women of God, the word of God in the Scriptures, traditions of the Church, and the Sacraments. As God's children too, even those who have not yet found faith can help witness to God's love and His mercy.
I pray that your Ascension, oh Jesus, may be an example to me and my brothers and sisters on earth this day as we commemorate it, of the miracles that you used to nourish our faith and love for you. We look forward to your coming in the future as the Gospels attest. I thank you for the gifts that God has given us, the greatest of which is your atonement for our sins, so that we may believe in you and some day join you in Heaven. I thank you for your love and mercy. Amen.