On the feast of the Ascension, we celebrate the greatness of Jesus Christ. God's greatness is not for himself but those who accepted him. Those who have accepted him, will be blessed with great joy. Mary said 'Yes' to the angel and she praised God saying: 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour' Lk 1,46. Mary went to see her cousin, Elizabeth, who welcomed her with great joy: 'Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord' Lk 1,42. At the Temple, the prophet Simeon and Anna praised God: 'Now, Master, you can let you servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation' Lk 2,29.
No one on earth has ever received more acceptance and also more rejection than the man Jesus. Both acceptance and rejection had happened right from the beginning of his birth. It continues until the present day and beyond. Every year at Easter, new members are welcomed into the Church with great joy, and sadly year after year there are some who quietly leave the Church. The very first rejection of Jesus happened before his birth. King Herod heard about the baby Jesus and wanted to eliminate Him Mt 2,14. At His Passion, religious leaders, the chief priests and the Scribes were determined to destroy the innocent man Jesus, and despite Pilate, the Governor of the land, proclaiming that he found no case against Him, Jesus was crucified Mt 27,24.
Jesus' teaching was embraced by the people, while His opponents questioned Him about His authority. His teaching was great and made a deep impression on them. He taught with authority Mt 7,29. He calmed the rough sea (Mt 8,23ff ). He raised the dead to life- Lazarus of Bethany and the daughter of Jairus (Mt 8,19-26). He had the power to forgive sin (Mk 2, 10).
Unlike any other earthly leaders, Jesus chose the leaders for His future Church not from amongst the warriors and the clever, but He chose them from amongst the fishermen, with one single condition applied: LOVE. Jesus asked Peter three times: Do you love me? Peter confirmed 'Yes' three times, and each time Jesus gave him a task- Look after my sheep, said Jesus; feed my sheep and with the final one predicted the way Peter would die to show his love for Jesus. (Jn 21).
No one on earth has ever achieved more greatness than Jesus. Within the period of three years of His public ministry, the whole of Israel knew about Him; after the Ascension His message of love and forgiveness spread far and wide and His teachings are quoted by both his followers and non believers alike. A mile of books have been written about Him and in many different languages. His claim about Himself proves true that 'everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled' Lk 24,44.