Today is the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord. It occurs on a Thursday each year, precisely 40 days after Easter. On this day we focus on the mighty resurrection of Jesus and his ascension back to the heavenly realms from which he came. This day leaves us waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I encourage you today to take a moment and meditate on the words of the early church father, St. Augustine of Hippo.
St. Augustine first points us to reflect on the Ascension with the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians (Col. 3:1-4):
Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
He eloquently explains to us how, through his resurrection and ascension, Christ is here with us on earth by His divinity, and we are in Heaven with Him by His love,
While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.
And how His Ascension is unique to Him alone:
No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are sons of God.
Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.
You can also listen to a reflection on the Ascension from the current day with Bishop Barron in Hallow’s Sunday Sermons this Ascension Sunday 2023.