Today’s feast reminds us of the extraordinary beauty of God’s love and the greatness of having become co-heirs with Christ, so that we too can aspire to Paradise if we remain grafted into the vine of eternal life.

From the letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians (Eph 1,17-23)

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, 11 the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Paul wants the Christians of Ephesus, and all of us, to understand that while living on earth, we do not lose the consciousness that we are called to a more beautiful life, to a life of fullness of light and divine and eternal joy.

On the Cross Jesus said: “All is accomplished”. With his Passion he had concluded the prophecies concerning the mystery of salvation for which he had descended from heaven to earth. His Resurrection broke down the wall of separation between heaven and earth. By grace we have become children, heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ.

How great is the hope to which we have been called!

We must never forget the “extraordinary greatness of God’s power towards us” (Eph 1:19): from being creatures far removed from Him, He wanted to make us children in the only Son to live grafted into Jesus Christ, like branches in the vine.

Odo Casel OSB writes: “What we have received in the mystery we must every day win back, defend from malicious attacks, develop […]. It is a question here of following with commitment the tiring and often boring path, of not laying aside the daily cross. […] But there is above us the glory of the cross that, invisible, gives us strength, so that we do not lose heart, but advance steadfastly towards the eternal goal. Only thus is the cross of grey everyday life transformed into the luminous cross of eternity’.

It is the Solemnity of the Ascension, but why talk about the Cross? The mystery of our salvation centres on the Cross of Christ with its Resurrection and Ascension. We think of the icons that represent it: as Jesus ascends to heaven, a luminous cross is glimpsed, and, if it does not appear, Christ ascends with his arms raised in the form of a cross.

We will be “blessed when with toil and patience we have followed the Lord all our lives carrying a part of His Cross; He will transform it into a cross of glory that we will be able to carry by ascending ‘to the Father of glory'”.

Here only is the beginning: “As for me, let there be no other boast than in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world was crucified to me, as I to the world” (Gal 6:14).

Let us also ascend spiritually with Jesus!