I confess that sometimes I have sad thoughts when it comes to the Ascension of the Lord. I can’t help but have sadness when I imagine what the Apostles were thinking as they stared up into heaven when Jesus ascended into heaven. They had to be sad to see their Friend, their Lord, their Teacher leave. It makes me think of all the times I have said goodbye to family and friends at the airport. I was considering these thoughts when I read that Pope Benedict XVI said that it would be a mistake to interpret the Ascension as “the temporary absence of Christ from the world.” So, if we are not supposed to think of the Ascension of the Lord as Jesus leaving us, what are we supposed to think?
- We can think of Jesus as ascended and enthroned in Heaven pouring out His Spirt upon us. “Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you are both seeing and hearing” (Acts 2:33).
- We can think of Jesus as ascended and enthroned in Heaven blessing us with forgiveness. “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance and the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).
- We can think of Jesus as ascended and enthroned in Heaven interceding for us as we bear witness to him. “It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us” (Acts 8:34).
God our Father, make us joyful in the ascension of your Son Jesus Christ.
May we follow him into the new creation for his ascension is our glory and our hope. Amen.