Dr. Scott Hahn once noted that the Ascension is “one of the most underrated feasts in the liturgical year.”
Indeed, the Ascension seems almost formulaic. Jesus ascended because it was simply natural that He do so, correct? He came from Heaven and must go back there, right? Are we simply saying “goodbye” to Jesus on this feast, like we would any visitor who’s leaving to go back home?
There’s quite a bit more to it than that.
Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven is the completion of His mission on earth. He came not only to save us through His Passion, death, and Resurrection, but also to establish Himself as our continual intercessor. He did this by ascending into Heaven and taking His place at the right hand of His Father.
He is forever united to human nature and, having taken His seat in Heaven, continues to act as the Mediator between God and man.
It’s beautiful to think that even in His glorified Body, Jesus carries His wounds with Him—the glorious marks of His great sacrifice for humankind. These wounds plead for us, as the saints have said: they are always before the eyes of the Father, reminding Him of the suffering His Son endured for men, and begging Him for mercy, for the sake of that suffering.
From His place in Heaven, Jesus continually reaches down to earth in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Through the priest, who acts in His person, He offers to His Father the perfect and priceless Sacrifice of Himself for us sinners—all over the world, at every hour of every day.
So the Ascension is the celebration of the completion of our redemption, the triumphant arrival of our King in His kingdom, and His intercession for us. What a cause for celebration indeed!
Of course, Jesus also ascended to show us where—if we live in imitation of Him—we too are destined. We are meant to be with Him in Heaven, if we love Him and follow His commandments. The Imitation of Christ has guided generations of Catholics in their search to become more like Our Lord. St. Thérèse of Lisieux and many other saints loved this book! Filled with short, profound meditations, it is an invaluable resource for honing your spiritual life—and making sure you’re on track for Heaven. Pick up a copy today at The Catholic Company!