Deacon’s Corner: What is the Meaning of the Ascension of Jesus?

This Solemnity is celebrated on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 16.

The Ascension of Jesus ... when Jesus stopped appearing to the disciples in visible form and his glorified body took its rightful place in heaven as equal to the Father.

God Saves-AscensionDuring the forty days when Jesus eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity. Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand. Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born,’ in a last apparition that established him as an apostle (1 Cor 15:8). 

The Ascension of Jesus refers to the time when Jesus stopped appearing to the disciples in visible form and his glorified body took its rightful place in heaven as equal to the Father. Jesus, too, has prepared a place for us with him in heaven and continuously intercedes for us and prays for us.

In his glorified state, Jesus - who is true God and true man - is not limited to time and space. He lives and reigns forever. He comes to us in many ways. By power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord comes into our hearts at Baptism and forms us into his own image. In a special way, he comes to us in the Eucharist under the forms of bread and wine. He speaks to us through his holy Word, the Scriptures.

He leads and guides us through the teaching of his holy Church and the leaders he has appointed to speak his truth. And he meets us in a special way through our neighbors, especially the “least of these.” These include those whom society looks down on (the poor, the powerless, the discriminated against, the lonely, and the suffering). Though Jesus reigns as the king of the universe from his heavenly throne (by “the Father’s right hand”), he is actively and spiritually present in our lives and in the life of the world around us. 

[Regarding the Ascension of the Lord, the Diocese of Raleigh and most others have transferred this Solemnity to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. This year, that is on May 16.]

- Deacon Phil, OFM

Spiritual Aid: Click here to download a Lectio Divina for the Solemnity of the Ascension
Source: US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Tags: Ascension

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