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May 29, 2022 3 min read

Christ's Glorious Exaltation Culminates in the Ascension.

According to the Gospel of St Luke the last gesture of our Lord on earth was to give a blessing. The Eleven had gone, as Jesus had told them to, from Galilee to the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. On seeing the risen Christ once more they fell down before him as their Master and their God and worshipped him. Now they are much more conscious of what they had for some time believed in their hearts and confessed with their lips: that their Master was the Messiah? They were delighted and full of joy at having their Lord and their God so near. After the forty days spent in his company they could be witnesses to what they had seen and heard. The Holy Spirit would confirm in them the teachings of Jesus and would lead them to the complete truth.

The Master spoke to them as only God could: Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me' Jesus confirmed the faith of those who worshipped him and taught them that the power they were to receive was a sharing in his own divine Power. The power to forgive sins, and to bring about a rebirth through Baptism is the power of Christ himself given now to his Church. The mission of the Church is to continue always the work of Christ, to teach men divine truths and make known the demands these truths impose, to help men follow God's way through the grace of the sacraments.

He said to them… You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. Thus does St Luke describe for us the Ascension in the Acts of the Apostles. 

He withdrew from their sight little by little. The Apostles remained for a long while, looking up as Jesus ascended majestically until a cloud took him out of their sight. It was the cloud that signifies the presence of God.' In John Chrysostom's words: It was a sign that Jesus had entered Heaven.

Jesus' life on earth finished not with his death on the Cross but with his Ascension into Heaven. It is the last of the mysteries of his life here on earth. It is a redemptive mystery which together with his Passion, Death and Resurrection makes up the Paschal Mystery. It was fitting that those who saw Christ die amid insults, scoffing and mockery on the Cross should see him now exalted. They see fulfilled now the words Jesus had one day spoken to them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to My God and your God.

And again: Now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. We meditate on the Ascension of our Lord into

Heaven in the Second Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. In the words of the Founder of Opus Dei: Jesus has gone to the Father. - Two Angels in white approach us and say, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up to Heaven? (Acts 1:11). Peter and the others go back to Jerusalem "cum gaudio magno” with great joy (Luke 24:52). It is fitting that the Sacred Humanity of Christ should receive the homage, praise and adoration of all the hierarchies of the Angels and of all the legions of the Blessed in Heaven.

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