Updated: Jun 21, 2022
This past Thursday, the church celebrated the feast of the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. In the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples, when they had gathered together, asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Whe
n he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and cloud took him from their sight.”
Just as in the Old Testament, Elijah w
as taken up into heaven in the whirlwind with a chariot of fire, so now in the New Testament, is Jesus taken up into that same heaven. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “The Lord opening the way to heaven, gives us a foretaste of divine life on earth.”
In other words, while Jesus is no longer physically with us as a human being following his ascension into heaven, he has left us with the ability to live within his divine life through his church, that we see dwelt first with the disciples and their witness and then all of us today as active partakers in Jesus’ divine life through the sacramental life of the church. Jesus also promised to leave us with his Holy Spirit, who
m the apostles first received at Pentecost —the feast of which we will be celebrating next Sunday! The celebration of Pentecost also officially ends the easter season and ushers us back into Ordinary Time. As we prepare to re-enter into ordinary time, let the Ascension of Jesus remind you of the reality of heaven and the need to daily follow in Jesus’ footsteps so as to one day follow him all the way up into heaven. We are also reminded of the need to trust not in our own understanding, as the disciples did to which Jesus’ response is “it is not for you to know the times or seasons.” Let us daily love, trust, and grow in wisdom as the Holy Spirit —sent to be with us by Jesus—enables us to accomplish.