耶稣升天

我信其升天

(玛 28:16-20)

各位弟兄姐妹,

根据圣经的记载,耶稣复活后第四十天被接升天去了。为此,教会把耶稣复活节后的第四十天,也就是复活期第六主日后的星期四定为耶稣升天节。但为牧民的需要,让更多的教友能共同庆祝耶稣升天节,教会准许把耶稣升天节移到复活期第七主日庆祝。今天这个复活期第七主日,我们所要举行的弥撒是庆祝耶稣升天节的弥撒。现在我以“我信其升天”为道理题目,跟大家一起反省耶稣升天带给我们的启示,并勉励我们自己在生活中活出耶稣升天的意义。

一、耶稣升天的证据

“耶稣升天”是我们教会当信的道理,在我们领洗的时候,在参与主日和节日弥撒时,我们都要郑重地向世人宣告:“我信祂升了天,坐在全能天主父的右边”。

今天弥撒的三篇读经也都清楚地记载了耶稣升天这一事实。

读经一《宗徒大事录》记载说,耶稣在加里肋亚的橄榄山上跟门徒们说完话,“就在他们观望中,被举上升,有块云彩接了他去,离开他们的眼界。他们向天注视着他上升的时候,忽有两个穿白衣的人站在他们前,向他们说:‘加里肋亚人!你们为什么站着望天呢﹖这位离开你们,被接到天上去的耶稣,你们看见他怎样升了天,也要怎样降来。’”(宗1:9-11)

从宗徒大事录的这段记载中,可以看出,耶稣升天既有人证、物证,还有天使作证。

人证,是十一位门徒,他们是耶稣升天的目击证人。他们亲眼看见耶稣升天的整个过程。“就在他们观望中,被举上升”。

物证,是云彩。耶稣被举升天时,“有块云彩接了他去,离开他们的眼界。”可能有人会说云彩还能做见证啊?当然能!其实世界万物都能为主作见证。“高天陈述天主的光荣,穹苍宣扬他手的化工”。(咏19:1)

天使证,就是“两个穿白衣的人”作证。当门徒们向天注视着耶稣上升的时候,“忽有两个穿白衣的人站在他们前,向他们说:‘加里肋亚人!你们为什么站着望天呢﹖这位离开你们,被接到天上去的耶稣,你们看见他怎样升了天,也要怎样降来。’”“两个穿白衣的人”就是天使。天使告诉门徒们耶稣已升天,但祂还要降来。

二、耶稣升天的去向

耶稣已升天了,但祂现在在哪里呢?耶稣升天不是从这个世界出发,到另一个世界去,如在地球升空一般。从信仰角度来说,是指耶稣的人性到达天父神性境界,与他共融。

马尔谷福音16章19-20节告诉我们,主耶稣给门徒们说完话以后,“就被接升天,坐在天主的右边。他们出去,到处宣讲,主与他们合作,并以奇迹相随,证实所传的道理。”

马尔谷福音的这段话告诉我们:耶稣升天了,祂既坐在天主的右边,又在我们中间,与我们在一起。

1.坐在天父右边

“坐在天父右边”的意思是:复活的耶稣与天父享有同样的尊威、光荣和权能。

在今天的弥撒福音中,主耶稣对门徒们说:“天上地下的一切权柄都交给了我。”(玛28:18)

在今天弥撒的读经二中,圣保禄宗徒说:“正如祂已将这德能施展在基督身上,使祂从死者中复活,叫祂在天上坐在自己右边,超乎一切率领者、掌权者、异能者、宰制者,以及一切现世及来世的可称呼的名号以上;又将万有置于祂的脚下,使祂在教会内作至上的元首。”(弗1:20—22)耶稣的权柄不仅超越世上一切的统治者、权威、能力和主宰者,也超越一切灵界的、美善的和邪恶的力量。

2.与我们在一起

在今天的弥撒福音中,圣史玛窦虽没有提到耶稣升天的事,但从他所记载的文字中可知:耶稣升天了,祂仍与门徒们同在,但不是以可见的形象,而是以一种不可见的精神的方式,常与祂的教会,祂的奥体同在。“看!我同你们天天在一起,直到今世的终结。”(28:20)

因此,耶稣升天并不是要抛下我们不管,让我们成为孤儿,而是要时时刻刻、永永远远跟我们在一起,更加密切地与我们在一起。祂派遣圣神,藉圣神跟我们在一起;祂藉圣经,跟我们讲话;祂藉圣体,住在我们心里;祂藉司祭的服务,在我们中间服务;祂藉众人的聚会,同我们在一起。等等。

耶稣升天3
耶稣升天1

三、耶稣升天的意义

耶稣升天不仅为耶稣本人有重大的意义,对我们人类更有重大意义:

1.从耶稣方面看,有三点意义:

第一,耶稣升天表示祂战胜了一切的仇敌。

这个世界有两大阵营:有天主的阵营,还有魔鬼的阵营。所以主耶稣在上十字架的时候,我们看到一共有三座十字架:一座是天主的,谁也不能代替;在他的左右各有一座是两个强盗的。所以,我们所有的人都要选择左右两边的十字架:一个是跟天主走的,一个是跟魔鬼走的。人生的路就是如此,没有第三条道路可选。

第二,耶稣升天证明祂超越世上的一切君王、先知。

第三,耶稣升天表明祂远超过灵界众天使。(弗1:20-22)

2.从人类方面看,有三点意义:

第一,去天上为我们预备地方。

“我去了,为你们预备了地方以后,我必再来接你们到我那里去,为的是我在那里,你们也在那里。”(若14:3)

因此,耶稣升天给所有信祂的人有了升天的希望,也是所有信祂的人将来升天的保证。

同时也告诉我们:不要在乎我们在世上能活多久,而应在乎的是我们在世上要怎样活,才能进到耶稣给我们预备的地方,获得永生。

第二,派遣圣神来到我们中间。

“我去为你们有益,因为我若不去,护慰者便不会到你们这里来;我若去了,就要派遣他到你们这里来。”(若16:7)

第三,赏给我们各样的恩赐。

“他带领俘虏,升上高天,且把恩惠赐与人。”(弗4:8)

反省

各位弟兄姐妹,最后让我们反省以下三个问题:

1.你相信耶稣复活后第四十天被接升天了吗?

2.耶稣升天后去了哪里?

3.“耶稣升天”与耶稣本人和我们有什么关系?

愿被接升天的耶稣降福你们,并与你们同在!阿们!

He was lifted up

“He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.” [Acts 1:9] Who was lifted up? Why were the disciples so fascinated with the Ascension of the Lord Jesus? What perception of the Lord did the disciples enjoy?

The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles [Acts 1:1-11] began by introducing us to the first Book of the New Testament. In the first verse, we heard that Luke had written another book, that being the Gospel according to Luke. Biblical history tells us that originally, the two books, the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, were joined together at Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:6. When the Catholic Church arranged the NT Canon books, the volume of Luke was divided in two books, in the manner in which we presently enjoy them.

Proceeding with verse 1:4 of the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus ordered His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until such time as they had received the promise of the Holy Spirit. What was this promise? It was the promise of the reception of the Holy Spirit, this promise being manifested today in the Catholic Church through the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Why were the disciples commanded to stay in Jerusalem? It is because Jerusalem was chosen by God as the City in which the spiritual Kingdom of God was to be established. Parallel to the Catholic Church, the visible Body of Christ, having its seat at the Vatican, the invisible Body of Christ has its seat in Jerusalem where Christ the King sits on His Throne.

The reception of the Holy Spirit was very important because He had been chosen and sent by the Father and the Son to sustain Christianity in a new era of sacred history, the era of the Church and its mission. From Jerusalem, the geographical center of sacred history, was to begin the apostolic mission of the apostles who had been prepared by Jesus in the three years prior to His Ascension into Heaven.

Today’s Reading from the Gospel of Matthew [Mt. 28:16-20] involved the great commission that was given to the Apostles by Jesus. Prior to granting someone the authority to do something, it is necessary to establish that one has the authority to give such an authority. Jesus began by stating that He enjoyed such an authority. “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me.” [Mt. 28:18]

What authority are we talking about here? To answer that, it is necessary to refer to today’s Second Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians. [Eph. 1:17-23] “God put (the working of His) power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.” [Eph. 1:20-21] The authority of Jesus is above all rule and authority and power and dominion. The aforementioned are not world rulers or governments. They are references to angelic spirits, some good, others evil, all the governing bodies that were considered to have control over human events and its destiny.

Through death on the Cross, followed by His glorious Resurrection, Christ conquered those governing bodies. Now, none of them possess any power over men. None of them can stand in the way of God’s progressive Divine Plan of salvation for mankind in the present age of grace that shall be fulfilled through Christ.

Then we heard St. Paul say, “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance among the saints and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of His great power.” [Eph. 1:17-19]

St Paul prayed that we may enjoy a spirit of wisdom and revelation so we may enjoy a knowledge of the Heavenly Father, not only of His Plan, but of knowing God as He knows Himself. St. Paul prayed that we may experience the great love of God for men in Christ, such a love being manifested through our love for each other in true Christian behaviour. Such an immeasurable power unites where once there was division. It heals where pain once existed. It forgives where condemnation once thrived. Such a love is not bound by gender, age, race, nationality or one’s social class. It has no barriers whatsoever.

St. Paul continued by saying, “And (God the Father) has put all things under (the) feet (of Jesus) and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” [Eph. 1:22-23]

When God created Adam and Eve, He “blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.'” [Gen. 1:18; Heb. 2:6-9] When Adam sinned through his disobedience to God, he relinquished control over the earth to the Prince of darkness who had become the ruler of the world. [Jn. 12:31] Now through the Blood of the Cross, the New Adam, Jesus, has repossessed what was rightfully His, dominion over all creations.

God made Jesus the Head over all things for the Church, which is His Body. In other words, Jesus is the invisible anointed Leader and Head of the visible Catholic Church that He has established on earth. He is also the Leader of the past, present and future saints who belong to the invisible mystical Body that enjoys its seat in Jerusalem.

Having dominion over all creations, Jesus commanded His apostles, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Mt. 28:19-20] Notice here that Jesus did not command the apostles to baptize in the “names” but rather in the “name.” While referring to the three Divine Presences of the Holy Trinity, He used the word “name” in singular form. Some may ask, “Why is this?”

When reviewing the Gospel of John, Chapter 17 when Jesus was praying for His disciples, He said, “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.” [Jn. 17:11] “I protected them in your name that you have given me.” [Jn. 17:11] Notice here that Jesus states that He and the Father shared the same Name. And what was that Name? It was the Name of Jesus. Therefore, based on the aforementioned, it can logically be be understood that the Name Jesus also belonged to the Father.

Let us look at this from a different perspective. When St. Francis was blessed with the gift of bilocation, what was the name of his second presence? Was it not also “Francis?” Certainly! Both were Francis. Why? Because they were the one and same being, manifested in two presences. Similar to this, the Most Holy of all names, the Name of Jesus, belongs to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in the Sacrament of Baptism, it is appropriate to invoke all three Divine Presences of the Blessed Trinity in the one Name.

In conclusion, who ascended into Heaven? It was God incarnated! It was Jesus in who the fullness of God dwelled bodily. [Col. 1:19; 2:9] It was Jesus, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

郑家茂神父
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