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Ascension Thursday

 

 

Jesus Ascends into Heaven

(Mark 16:19-20     Luke 24:50-53     Acts 1: 1-12)


"To them also He showed himself alive after His passion by many proofs,
during forty days appearing to them and speaking of the kingdom of God."

Accordingly, at the Savior's bidding, the Eleven repaired to Jerusalem
and there in the Upper Room they met Him for the last time.

" And while eating with them," relates Acts,
 "He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father,
'of which you have heard,' said he, 'by my mouth;
for John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized
with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.”


After saying these words,

Jesus led them out to the Mount of Olives.

They were followed by the disciples, some holy women, and probably His Mother.

It was Thursday, May 18, 30 A. D.-forty days after the Resurrection.


"Lord," ask some of the Eleven, "wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"

"It is not for you," replies Jesus, "to know the times or dates
which the Father has fixed by his own authority;
but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem
and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the very ends of the earth."

 

 

And while they were gazing up to heaven as He went,


behold, two men stood by them in white garments,

and said to them,

 

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet,
which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey."


In his Gospel, Saint Luke adds a few further details.

"Now," he says,

"He led them out towards Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
And it came to pass as He blessed them,
that He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
And they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen."

Thus Luke ends his Gospel.


Even briefer is Saint Mark in describing this last event in the earthly life of the Savior.

"So then the Lord," he says, "after He had spoken to them,
was taken up into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the preaching
by the signs that followed. Amen."


Leaving with his readers the consoling thought
of the Savior's continued participation in the life and work of His Church,
Mark thus ends his Gospel.


Accustomed to seeing and hearing the Incarnate Son of God
and to depend entirely upon Him in their daily lives,
the Apostles will henceforth see Him only through the cloud of faith
that "took him out of their sight."

Returning to Jerusalem they rejoice
over the triumph of their glorified Savior
and joyously look forward
to the coming of the Holy Spirit.