Every Sunday we profess our Catholic Faith through the Creed. Among other Articles of Faith we profess that Jesus “ascended to Heaven…”.Yet, do we understand what this means and know how to explain it?
Forty four days earlier at the Last Supper, the disciples were sad when Jesus revealed to them that he was about to leave them. He uttered these mysterious words: “It is for your own good that I am going because unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John16,7)
We can understand their sadness and confusion: how could their master, the greatest miracles maker of all times who resurrected Lazarus from the dead, speaks of his sufferings to come and now of his departure? The disciples definitely needed to be “confirmed” by the Holy Spirit in order to understand Jesus’ mysterious revelations. We too need to receive the sacrament of Confirmation! Hence, Jesus will appear to them many times during the next 40 days, to strengthen their faith in his resurrection.
Did the Blessed Virgin Mary need apparitions of Jesus to believe that he was truly risen? No, the one who was declared “full of grace” by Archangel Gabriel never doubted from the Annunciation to the end of her life; her faith, hope and charity were as perfect as they could be on earth. She contemplated in silence and deep faith and joy the mystery of her glorious son present to her in a new way.
Understanding three aspects of the mystery of Jesus’ Ascension
- Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain, whence he will come again(Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides him from the eyes of men (cf. Col 3:3).
- Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him forever.
- Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 665-667)
Let us live out Jesus ‘words: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (…) And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28:20) and search the meaning of: “…this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.” (Acts1.11)