The celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord occurs on the 40th
day after Easter (which was May 30th this year). The Church allows for the Diocese of
Madison and others to transfer the celebration to the following Sunday ( June 2nd this
year). In a homily to commemorate the Ascension of Our Lord, Pope Saint Leo the
Great (400-461 A.D.) said: “Today we are not only made possessors of Paradise, but
with Jesus Christ we have ascended, mystically but also really, to Heaven, and have won through Christ a grace more wonderful than the one we had lost.” The Ascension of Jesus strengthens and nourishes our hope of attaining Heaven, Father Francis Fernandez has said (In Conversation with God) – it invites us always to lift up our hearts, as we state in the preface of the Mass, and seek the things that are above, to have great hope because Christ Himself has gone to prepare an eternal dwelling place of love, peace and joy for us ( John 14:1-6; Luke 24:46-53).
Jesus is in Heaven in His glorified Body, with the signs of His redemptive sacrifice,
the marks of His Passion (Revelation 5:6) – marks that Thomas could see and touch,
marks that have brought about our salvation. Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death and awaits us in Heaven, for we are “citizens of Heaven” (Philippians 3:20) – and at the same time we’re citizens of this earth, in the midst of difficulties, challenges and sorrows, but also in the midst of joy and serenity that comes from knowing that we are children of God. Along the way, let us seek the consoling help of Jesus’ Mother, Mary, as the Apostles did… “They returned to Jerusalem… and they prayed with one mind… together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus” (Acts 1-2; Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, #126).
The hope of Heaven should fill our days with joy! Jesus ascends, yet He also wills
to remain close to each of us (Matthew 28:16-20): in prayer, in His Church, Word
and Sacraments; through the communion of saints; by virtue of our baptism, the Holy
Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, dwells in us; in the Holy Eucharist, He
is substantially present in every Catholic parish tabernacle (21 of our young people made their First Holy Communion this year; please keep praying for them as they grow in their love for Jesus Christ and His Church). May we go to Jesus by going to church to
pray – and when we’re at work, school or home, may we go to Him with our heart and
mind by thinking of the tabernacle at church and asking Him to help us in our daily
duties. By witnessing to His love, mercy, peace and teachings, in our words and deeds,
may we make Him known to others. As we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost ( June 9th this year), may we unite in prayer to God, praying with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint Clement and all the saints, striving by God’s grace and the strength of the Holy Spirit, to live the virtues of faith, hope and love, with great joy. Amen. Alleluia!
With peace and prayers in Christ,