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Engaging the Word: Ascension

Today we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus. After he rose from the dead, Jesus appeared to his followers for 40 days; at the end of that time, he ascended into heaven. We shouldn’t think of Jesus taking a spaceship into the sky. Instead, it is enough for us to know that at the Ascension, Jesus’ humanity—both body and soul—entered fully into God’s heavenly domain. Jesus’ unimaginable glory, however, means that his body remains hidden from us who have not yet achieved heavenly perfection.

Jesus’ Ascension reminds us of aspects of his earlier teaching. Jesus’ humanity was radically changed when he ascended into heaven, and Jesus always preached a message of profound change. Jesus calls for us to undergo a radical conversion, leaving behind worldly ways of thinking and giving ourselves—body and soul—to God. Still, deep change does not happen all at once; the transformation of Jesus’ humanity included his suffering, death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Before he ascended into heaven Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to the Church, so that the process of conversion could continue inside each one of us.


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