The ascension or the return of Christ to heaven, in his human but glorified body, is the culmination, the sign and seal of the accomplishment of his salvific mission on Earth. He, the son of God, the second divine Person of the Blessed Trinity became man, lived and died on this earth so that we men could live with God forever in heaven. By his death on the cross, he reconciled sinful man with his divine Creator. His human death earned for us a share in the divine life. His resurrection is the divine guarantee that we too shall rise again, and his ascension to the Father is the prelude to our entrance into God’s everlasting kingdom.
Christ, our Saviour, our intimate friend, who suffered hardships, humiliations, and finally the painful and degrading death on the cross for our sake, while here on earth, is now seated in the place of honour at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He is there as our representative and as our intercessor. He has gone to heaven to prepare a place there for us. He said to his apostles (and through them to all of us) at the last Supper : “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places…I am going to prepare a place for you and then I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am you also may be” (Jn.14:2-3)
What a consolation, what a source of joy this feast of the ascension is for any true believer ! It is the natural desire of every human being to keep on living – death is the negation of everything we love and have. However, we know that the earthly death awaits everyone of us. Our human nature is mortal. How sad it would be for those who do not believe in God, if the grave were the final end for us.
We Christians know it is not the end but rather the beginning and today’s feast is the reminder of this consoling fact. We shall all leave this world someday soon, but for a true Christian, this thought should be a cause for joy rather than sadness. We leave this valley of tears to go on an eternal holiday. Christ has promised he is preparing a place in his own heavenly home for us and he is helping us on our way there.