Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul the Great: FEAST OF THE LORD'S ASCENSION

"God mounts his throne to shouts of joy" (Responsorial Psalm, Response). These words of today's liturgy lead us into the Solemnity of the Ascension. We relive the moment when Christ returns to the Father, after completing his earthly mission. This feast is the culmination of Christ's glorification at Easter. It is also the immediate preparation for the gift of the Holy Spirit who will come at Pentecost. The Ascension of the Lord should not therefore be taken as an isolated episode but as an integral part of the Easter Mystery.

Indeed the risen Jesus does not leave his disciples definitively; rather, he begins a new kind of relationship with them. If, from the physical and earthly viewpoint, he is no longer present, his invisible presence is nonetheless intensified, reaching a depth and breadth that are absolutely new.

Through the action of the promised Holy Spirit, Jesus was to be present where he had taught his disciples to recognize him:  in the Church, the community of all who were to believe in him, called to carry out a never-ending evangelizing mission down the ages in the Gospel, and the sacraments.

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