Notes on the Readings for the Ascension of the Lord
- ”40 days after the Resurrection”
The number 40 has a very significant meaning– it is a time of testing and preparing for a new start in God’s plan. After 40 days of the flood, Noah and his family, purified and tested, are prepared for a new beginning, another covenant, new rules about diet, shorter lives. The Hebrews, 40 years in the desert , being purified of their sins, tested, are prepared for a new beginning in the Promised Land. The Lord spent 40 days in the desert being tested and then prepared for his public life of preaching and healing. The 40 days after the Resurrection was spent in preparing the disciples for life after his Ascension to spread the Kingdom of God.
- “A cloud took them from their sight“
This was an affirmation that Jesus was not only the Messiah but that He is Divine –in Sacred Scripture only God rode on the clouds–even Angels did not ride on the clouds.
- “Jesus has been taken up from you into heaven“
For the Jews, heaven could mean the sky, the second heaven would be the night sky. Here it mans , the realm of God; into the presence of God. Not a throne on some distant galaxy in outer space, but the presence of God, the realm of God , where the Lord sits at his right hand to intercede for us.
- “Ascension of the Lord“
His bodily ascension is one of the great truths of the Catholic Faith, an article of the Creed. He ascends in his body, crucified and risen, not just as a spirit. Through his obedience he has earned as man to be the “Lord of Lords and King of Kings”. The Creed says, he is seated at the right hand of the Father” Here he intercedes for us. He is Lord of the Gift–Lord of all our needs, but the ultimate Gift to us is the Holy Spirit. All our prayers go to the Father through Jesus our Lord in the love of the Holy Spirit–even when we ask the Blessed Mother, our favourite saint , guardian angel, or our friends to pray for us.
- “You will receive power “
The disciples were to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. The Holy Spirit –the great Spirit that is the source of all life, all truth, all comfort , all consolation, all love. It was to restore to mankind the Holy Spirit that the lord came on earth.
And now we are his witnesses.