(Ref. Luke 24:36-53)
We are accustomed to our body, we accept that it gets tired, requires nourishment, experiences pain, suffers from all kinds of limitations. We start thinking that this is the way that it should be. However, the human nature that we see in the resurrected body of Christ the Saviour has completely different characteristics simply unattainable in the animal world.
We see Christ’s body in the flesh walk through walls. Though we see that He is able to eat food, He, nonetheless, does not require it. We see His flesh retaining as a memory the wounds from the nails with which His body was affixed to the cross.
The Ascension of the Lord asserts a very important Christian truth. We see true humanity in the Person of Christ the Saviour. The human nature which our life teaches us to perceive as weak, feeble, sickly, and dying, in Christ becomes something totally different, something that knows no constraints of the flesh, something that knows no pain, nor suffering, nor, most importantly, death.
Having once risen from the dead, Christ cannot die again. And that is exactly what explains the Christians’ reverential treatment of the human body already here on earth, in anticipation of the universal resurrection. And it is by means of this feast that we learn the reason for the existence of the Orthodox Church, the reason for the veneration of the relics of the saints, the reason for the respectful treatment of the bodies of saints who have not yet been glorified.
May the Lord help us in celebrating this feast to treat the bodies of each other not as temporary resting places of the soul, but as true temples of the Holy Spirit in which He is supposed to live and act.