The Patriarch of Romania revealed the ‘deep spiritual meanings of the Ascension of the Lord’ during a sermon held Thursday at St George’s Chapel of his patriarchal residence.
‘Since the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ into heaven in glory is not a simple ascension to heaven, but one in glory, we understand that the Ascension of the Lord is the glorification of man united with God,’ Patriarch Daniel said May 28.
His Beatitude recalled the explanations of St. John Chrysostom who pointed out that when the first Adam sinned, God said to him, ” you are earth, and unto earth you shall return!” and now, at the Ascension, God says to the New Adam – the Saviour Jesus Christ: “Sit on My right hand!”
‘By this, we see that the Saviour Jesus Christ shows what the ultimate destination of the faithful man is. It is not the grave, but the glory of heaven. He prepares those who believe in Him a place in heaven so that where He is, in the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, may also be those who believe in Him and love Him,’ the Patriarch stressed.
‘The ascension of the Lord into heaven is an elevation of humanity, its fulfilment and glorification insofar as man is united with God, the Source of eternal life.’
The Patriarch pointed out that the Ascension of the Lord prepared the Descent of the Holy Spirit when the Church was founded. It also makes “the fulfilment of the mystery of the Church which grows by the presence of Christ, by the work of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and our salvation.”
In his sermon, Patriarch Daniel also noted the importance of blessing, recalling that “the Saviour ascended into heaven while blessing the disciples” (Luke 24:51).
“Christ the Lord always blesses those who love Him, believe in Him, and do His will in their lives. The church lives by the blessing of Christ. Therefore, in the Church, in all services, the bishop or priest conveys to the faithful the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Another profound aspect regarding the Ascension of the Lord is that it already announces the second coming of the Saviour through the presence of the two angels on Mount Elelon mentioned by the apostolic text.
The angels said unto the apostles, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven (Acts 1:11).
“By this, the disciples were assured that the Saviour Jesus Christ ascended into heaven in glory, but would come again in glory at the end of the ages when He will judge the living and the dead and give His kingdom to those who believed in Him and fulfilled His will in their lives.”
On Thursday at noon, the bells of all Orthodox churches in Romania rang to show a token of gratitude for the heroes who sacrificed themselves for the nation, faith and country.