On the Feast of Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom)
The feast of the Ascension is at the same time a last vision of the victory of God in Christ, of the victory of Christ over sin, over mortality, over death itself, but at the same time the feast of the Ascension is the final revelation of the greatness and the virtual, the potential greatness and holiness of man. St. John Chrysostom in one of his homilies says to us, “If you want to find out how great man is, do not look towards the palaces of kings or the seats of the mighty, raise your gaze towards the throne of God and you will see sitting at the right of power a Man, Jesus Christ.”
He is there clothed in our humanity, a Man at the heart of the Divine mystery, a Man in the glory of God, and this is a final perfect vision of what we are called to believe about ourselves, and what we are called to strive for….
And indeed St. Peter points out this vocation of man by saying that we are all called to become partakers of the divine nature. How wonderful it is to be totally, ultimately akin with the primeval matter of this world, to belong to that matter out of which all things were fashioned, to be at the root of things, to belong together with the smallest atom and the greater galaxy and all the beings whom God has called into existence and at the same time to be akin to God and by vocation to be so united with God that we should become partakers of the Divine nature. And this has begun, it has begun, it has happened in Christ — God became man, the fullness of God abided in the flesh. He did not simply indwell him as a human being can indwell a room, no, He pervaded all his humanity and made this humanity of Christ to be what true humanity is.
Yes, indeed, Christ is the only true man, the only perfect, the only real man, because as long as we are not at one with God, not only in prayer and sacrament but in the total union of divinity and humanity, we are below our vocation. And it is so wonderful to think that when God created man, He projected His vision of man and this vision became a real human being…Who could dare say that his vocation is to be what Christ was — a man in the image of God incarnate?
This is the feast which we keep today — the revelation of our human vocation…
Apolytikion (Fourth Tone)
O Christ our God, You ascended in Glory and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.