Strive to Remain in God’s Grace
Saint Mark’s gospel does not give us any details about the Ascension. He simply says that Jesus was taken up into heaven and took His seat at the right hand of God. Although this statement is very simple, it has a very important meaning for us, who are baptized.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says, “Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ” (1272). Through our baptism, we become members of Christ’s Body. If Jesus is at the right hand of God, then this means that, in Jesus, we too are at the right hand of God. Sin is the only thing that changes our relationship to God. The catechism makes the distinction between to types of sin—mortal and venial: “Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it” (1855) In other words, when we commit venial sin, we wound our relationship with God, but we do not break it off entirely. However, when we commit mortal sin, we choose to divide ourselves from the Body of Christ and completely cut off our relationship with God. While neither venial nor mortal sin stop God from loving us and sustaining us in existence, we must always strive to return to Him regularly in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, especially if we commit mortal sin, so that God in His Mercy can forgive us, repair the damage that division causes, and make it possible for us to resume our proper place in Christ.
The Ascension of the Lord reminds us of who we are and where we are. Usually in our daily lives we do not remember that, through baptism and living in a state of grace, we have the amazing privilege to be so close to God. Even more, we have the amazing opportunity to deepen our union with Him by receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist in a state of grace, which many of us do every week and even every day. And while God gives and does everything possible to sustain and nourish our union with Him by offering the sacraments to us, He can only do so much. We have an important role to play: we are called to respond to God by remaining in Christ by avoiding sin, being present to God through prayer, taking advantage of and receiving the sacraments regularly, and striving to live according to His will in every moment of our lives. Let us try strive to do these things and discover the profound reality of God’s presence and providence in our lives, because they bring us both the joy and peace that only God can give.
Yours in Christ,
Readings for the Ascension of the Lord: Lectionary 58
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