Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Most of us who are fans of the Star Wars movie series remember the 1999 release of the so-called Episode 1, which was, in fact, the fourth Star Wars movie. The idea was to go back in time to events preceding the previous three movies.

In Daniel Chapter 7, we have a director’s cut of the Ascension of Jesus filmed not from Earth, where the Apostles stood, but from His arrival in Heaven as seen from Heaven, along with a preview of end times. There we find this prophetic vision:

“One like a Son of Man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When He reached the Ancient One and was presented before Him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His kingship shall not be destroyed”  (Dan 7:13-14).

We hear words that remind us of the Annunciation of Jesus to Mary and the vision of Saint Stephen as he was about to be martyred exclaiming: “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”  (Acts 7:55-56). Of course, the right hand is the side of Power and Sovereignty in Scripture. (cf.: Ex 15:6; Isa 48:13).

The Forgotten but Glorious Mystery

The Ascension is often unappreciated given it is sandwiched between the Resurrection and Pentecost and celebrated on a working day (in some regions), however, its consequence in salvation history is profound.

Ability – The Ascension is not merely the return of Our Lord to heaven. It is the return of a God-Man infused with a glorified human body. As such, His entry into the Sanctuary of Heaven prefigures our own future place in the same kingdom. Our glorified bodies will have the capacity to live unconstrained by our present earthly physical limitations.

Admission – Where original sin had broken our access to the Father, now through our Baptism as mandated by Jesus before ascending, we will have a future actual presence before the Triune God as the final plan for us.

Assurance – The Resurrection promises us everlasting life. Pentecost provides us with the assistance and power of the Holy Spirit as successors to the mission of the Apostles. The Ascension is the pledge of being equipped for a heavenly future not as just spirits, but with both body and soul reunited again on the last day.

As We Journey for Now

If our earthly bodies can come to share in the divine life through the grace of Baptism, then the Eucharist is likewise not only food for our present journey, but also a foretaste of the heavenly banquet reserved for us in our glorified bodies at the end of time.

As a result of His Ascension, we are also assured of Our Lord’s intercession and continued mediation for us in the heavenly temple before Our Heavenly Father. (Heb 9:24-26).

Confirmed in our faith, we are recipients of a pouring out of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to continue the Apostolic vocation of spreading the Gospel. We are, thereby, commissioned to live as faithful disciples, cooperating with Christ’s commandments until He returns in glory.

May the Divine Assistance remain always with us. Amen.

[Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:17-23; Mark 16:15-20]

Jerry DeMelo Jr.

Mr Jerry DeMelo, Jr OP is a life-long Catholic and life professed Lay Dominican. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he served in the US Submarine Service. He is presently a Judicial Officer in California. Jerry enjoys Catholic Pilgrimages, teaches a weekly Bible study as well as the Diaconate formation program for the Diocese of Fresno. Mr DeMelo is on the Board of Directors of Gratia Vobis Ministries.

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