Mrs. Peggy Brechtel, OP
Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth.
Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, must bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry, and you gave me food.
He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
He is in us by grace through Baptism. He gave us the sacraments to fortify us and help us gain salvation so that we might live with Him forever in eternity. He made it very clear to the apostles that he must return to the Father so that he could send the Holy Spirit upon them and upon us. The Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete, the Advocate, and Counselor.
Christ is our mediator before the Father. He pleads for mercy to be extended to us through the merits he gained for us on His cross, by His suffering, death, and Resurrection.
The number forty looms huge in Scripture. Noah was in the flood for forty days. Christ was in the desert fasting and tempted by Satan forty days. There are forty days from Easter to the Ascension.
As a very little girl I puzzled over Christ’s Ascension. The only thing I could figure out was that Jesus wanted to be with the Father. Certainly, that was true, but for you and me there is so much more meaning and consequence. Jesus showed His great love for us in multiple ways, and leaving us with His actual body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist was and is a profound gift of love.
This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!