Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ascension Thursday: Jesus Takes Humanity to Heaven

I love the Holy Days. They are reminders of the salvation offered to us by our Creator, salvation which we have neither earned nor deserve. We were all hopelessly trapped in our sins, and instead of abandoning us, the Second Person of the Trinity literally took on our human mortality to become one of us and died to bring us life.

Today, we here in the Northeast United States are celebrating Ascension Thursday, the feast in which we remember the day Jesus Christ ascended to heaven in his glorified human body to sit at the right hand of His Father, where He is constantly interceding and preparing a place for us next to Him.

How I wish there was a way to help people understand the great significance of this day. Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father pleading our cause in spite of our sins and rejection of God. Jesus reminds the Father that He knows what it is like to live on this fallen earth, so cut off from God, surrounded by suffering, misery and death. Although Jesus never once gave in to sin, He knows what it is like to be tempted, to feel the pull of sin. He understands us because He lived among us as a human being. And now He sits at God's right hand saying as He did on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

The following are words from the hymn for Morning Prayer from the Magnificat:
He has raised our human nature
in the clouds to God's right hand;
There we sit in heavenly places,
There with him in glory stand:
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
Man with God is on the throne;
Mighty Lord, in thine ascension
We by faith behold our own.
"We by faith behold our own."  Think of what this means.  Jesus Christ, who is the head of His Mystical Body known as the Church, is sitting at the Father's right hand, which means that we, mystically, are also sitting with Christ in heaven at the Father's right hand each time we pray and draw close to Him.  St. Paul in Ephesians 2:6 tells us:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
When we spend time with Jesus in the tabernacle at Church, we are entering into the heavenly realms where Christ is seated next to the Father.  We can mystically leave this poor, strife torn earth where suffering is beyond our understanding, and enter into heaven with God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother, with the angels and the saints.  Think of heaven - a place of incomparable beauty, perfection, peace, happiness.  It is waiting for us, and all we have to do is say yes.  And at those times we fall down and give in to sin, Jesus Christ is pleading our cause, begging in the Father's forgiveness for us just as He did when He was on earth as a mortal (but still divine) human being.

From the responsorial psalm for Ascension Thursday:
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?

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