Ascension of Jesus is a mystery
This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Ascension of the Lord. Jesus led the disciples as far as the outskirts of Bethany, which is less than two miles from Jerusalem (John 11:18); raising His hands He blessed them and “as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven” (Luke 24:51). Unlike the Resurrection, the disciples are witnesses to the Ascension. Jesus took them out to give them courage, and raising His hands He blessed them and as He blessed them He was carried up into heaven. Though He ascended, His blessing hand continues to bless us though it is invisible to us.
Like the clouds in God’s presence
Ascension is a joyous affirmation that God does intend to bring us back into His eternal presence, despite our sins. Jesus was ascended in the clouds to heaven. We know that the clouds are formed usually when the moisture-laden air near the Earth’s surface is raised higher into the atmosphere by the heat of the sun or by an encroaching air mass. Water needs the help of the sun to be evaporated and to be lifted up to become clouds and to exist in a different form. Likewise, we need the help of the “Sun” to be lifted up from our mortal state. Only
Jesus who has ascended on the clouds can help us to ascend. The Ascension is a prophecy of things to come for those who love God and believe in Him. Living in God’s presence and abiding in God’s Paradise, which our first parents enjoyed and lost through their sins have been restored now. Jesus has gone ahead of us into God’s space, into God’s world; and as Jesus said, he has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven. We find Jesus as the Sun of Justice in Malachi 3:20. His crucifixion is likened to the setting of the sun. He descended into “the lower parts of the earth” to bring light to those who were waiting in darkness and in the shadow of death. In his resurrection, he became “the dayspring from on high”, the bringer of a new age of light, of life and of salvation to his Church which is likened to the moon, receiving its light from the sun.
Jesus is with us.
As Jesus disappears from their sight, the disciples continue to gaze upwards into the sky. It is then that two men wearing white clothes stand beside them and say: “Men of Galilee, what are you doing looking at the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).The angels’ words reminded the disciples that they will not now find Jesus in the sky, in “heaven”. Jesus they knew before the crucifixion has left them for good and they have to go back to Jerusalem. There, they will receive the Spirit, who proceeds from Father and the Son, and they will begin to understand and grow in understanding. If they want to find Jesus, they will find him in the Christian community, in those they meet with every day of their lives. The Risen and Ascended Jesus is not far away. He is with his followers and will be with them to the end of time (Matthew 28:20).
“To live contentedly in our exile, we must keep before our eyes the hope of our arrival in the country where we shall live forever.” St. Francis de Sales