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The Word, The Truth

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The NT writers present the exaltation of Jesus following his death, an event that transcends history, in different ways. In Luke-Acts this indescribable phase of Christ’s existence is expressed in temporally distinct stages: resurrection, ascension, and conferral of the Holy Spirit. This extends over a period of fifty days. But in all the gospels and Acts, Jesus’ departure is accompanied by words of assurance that his mission will be continued by the Holy Spirit who will inaugurate a new era in salvation history.

The story of the ascension in Luke (24:46-53) serves as the conclusion of the gospel and contains a number of familiar Lucan themes. A Lucan inclusion finishes the gospel with a joy echoing that of Jesus’ birth (v53/2:10). The word χαρά, Chara, (and it’s verb χαίρω, Chairõ) means joy or exultation flowing specifically from the experience of the redemptive deeds of God that come to fruition in the gospel in the person of the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Mt 2:10; Lk 1:14; 2:10; 13:17; 19:37; John 8:56; 20:20; Phil 3:1;4:4,10). Another motif here is that Jesus interprets his death-resurrection in the light of the scriptures as an event pre-ordained by God (v46; 9:22; 24:25f). The preaching of the Kerygma for the forgiveness of sins is the first fruit of the resurrection, with Jerusalem designated as the focal point of the message’s emergence, proceeding from there to the nations of the world (v47; Acts 2:38; 1:8). And the promise of the Father (vv47,49), the ever living presence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4, 2:33) and its era.

What then, is the joy experienced in the Ascension of our Lord? Despite Jesus’ departure, our joy lies, first in God’s salvation given to us as a gift, what the Good News is all about, realized in the person of Christ. Second, is God’s continuous presence in our lives as the gospel assures us that the Holy Spirit would be the continuing loving presence of God in our lives. And lastly our joy is rooted in living our mission, the proclamation of salvation which Christ inaugurated and continued through the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. We do not only enjoy receiving the many blessings of God. Our joy is made complete by being able to fulfill our mission, responding to the needs of the people we meet everyday and let them experience the good news themselves we ourselves have received. That is the true joy which can be found solely in God.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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