“They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.” -Luke 24:53
The Ascension of Christ marks the end of his time with the Apostles on earth and his triumph over Satan. Christ takes his place in heaven where he will soon send the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. The last line of the Gospel of Luke, which is quoted above, has the Apostles celebrating, praising God. Sounds like they finally understand what Christ has been trying to teach them. It is also a reminder that the Easter joy is not over.
The Gospel of Luke begins and ends in the Temple. This was a sacred place for the Jewish people during Christ’s presence on earth. It housed the Holy of Holies, the place where the Ark of the Covenant was and only the High priest could enter. This place was where they could be closest to God. This was the place where heaven and earth met, the axis mundi. What other place would the Apostles celebrate what they had just experienced?
Today we have the Eucharist, the presence of Christ! Why would we not be filled with joy and praise God?
The Ascension also mirrors the Transfiguration only this time he shows his glory to all of the Apostles. Why wouldn’t they be happy? All was revealed to them. Seeing God’s son ascend into heaven must of given them great hope in all that he taught them.
We too need to be aware of the hope we have in the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. The messages have been clear this past week as sections of John 15 were given to us. “Do not be afraid”; “I am sending the Advocate” “You are the vine and my father is the vine grower . . “
Today we have access to the Holy Spirit through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation,
again, why would we not celebrate?
We are an Easter people! Why not continue to praise God and celebrate?
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.