Ascension Day – Byzantine Rite – 02 June 2022

Troparion Tone 3

Thou hast ascended in glory, O Christ our God,

Granting joy to Thy disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Through the blessing, they were assured

That Thou art the Son of God,

The Redeemer of the world!

Reading From the Book of Acts

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

~Chapter: 1, Verses: 10 to 11

Reading From the Book of 1st Timothy

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations,

was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

~Chapter: 3, Verse: 16

Reading From the Gospel of John

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

~Chapter: 14, Verse: 2


Today’s readings describe the Ascension of the Lord Jesus his Heavenly glory after promising to send the Apostles the Holy Spirit as the source of Heavenly power and commanding them to bear witness to Him through their lives and preaching throughout the world.  But the ascended Jesus is still with us because of His promise, “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”  He is with us at all times and in all places, releasing a new energy upon the earth, the energy of the Holy Spirit.

The event of Jesus’ Ascension, recorded in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, serves as today’s first reading. Before ascending to the Father, Jesus instructed the apostles to “remain in Jerusalem and wait for the baptism by the Holy Spirit” so that they might become Jesus’ “witnesses to the ends of the earth” by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then “a cloud took Jesus from the sight” of the disciples, and two heavenly messengers in white garments gave them the assurance of Jesus’ coming return to earth in glory. “Luke will note that [the disciples]  eleven disciples is conspicuous for the absence of Judas. The first agenda item for this post-Ascension community will be the restoration of the core group to the number twelve, showing the apostolic concern for restoring the number to the very meaning of Jesus’ original choice of a symbolic Twelve.”

The Second Reading from Timothy describes the glory of the moment focusing on the wonder itself, not on the others present.  The Gospel today from John poses the question of where our place is amongst the ascended Christ. The three readings together give us a who, when, and where of the glory of the event.

In trying times such as today’s, perhaps some of the nagging doubts which inevitably accompany the journey of Faith could be lessened by our meditating on the Ascension and its implications. When we are too far from Faith to pray on our own, let us remember that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous, praying for us. When the trials of life feel too heavy to bear, we must remember that Christ will come again in glory, the same glory in which Jesus arose from the tomb, the same glory to which Jesus ascended, and the same glory in which Jesus currently abides. Though our limited perception might find him absent, Jesus is fully present, participating in every moment of our lives. By His Ascension, Christ has not deserted us but has made it possible for the Holy Spirit to enter all times and places. In this way, it is possible for each of us to be transformed by the power of the Spirit into agents or instruments of Christ. We become enlivened, and our actions become animated in a new way by the Spirit of the God we love and serve. We have become other Christs in this world.

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