Ascension of Our Lord – May 21

Ascension Day commemorates Jesus’ bodily ascension into heaven. It is celebrated traditionally across the Christian world on the fortieth day after Easter, Holy Thursday, but often as well on the following Sunday. The ascension of Jesus breaches the veil between heaven and earth. This beautiful mystery transcends the finite mind of humankind.

Jesus surprised His disciples and followers by appearing to them in bodily form ten different times following His resurrection from the tomb. He understood how difficult it was for the disciples to comprehend the reality of His resurrection. So He came to them in ways they could understand, preparing a breakfast of fish for them, interpreting scriptures as He so often had before.

The disciples wanted their friend and rabbi to remain with them forever. However, Jesus explained that He must return to heaven so that He could send the Holy Spirit, who would remain with them throughout their earthly pilgrimage. Jesus’ ascension was preparing them for a new experience. The Holy Spirit, as promised, would connect the disciples with the heavenly Jesus in a new way, breaching the veil between heaven and earth. And, all who believe and follow Jesus share a connection through the Holy Spirit.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ who knew Him first, we’re grateful for your struggle to understand the unfathomable. Through your obedience, we too wait for the spirit who descends on Pentecost. Ascension Day breaches and foreshadows our own crossing of the veil between heaven and earth, whether in death or daily life. Ascension in all its mystery and awe is a great comfort and a harbinger of an unimaginable creative connection between heaven and earth.

Ascension Fresco at the Church of the Transfiguration, Community of Jesus on Cape Cod. Painted by Silvestro Pistolesi from Florence, Italy

Ascension Fresco painted by Silvestro Pistolesi – Church of the Transfiguration

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