"Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God." - Luke 24:50
The disciples spent three years with their very best friend, Jesus. They had an intimacy with Him that was far beyond anything humanly possible. They learned from Him, broke bread with Him, and ultimately witnessed His death and resurrection. After the resurrection, He was present to them on many occasions. And finally, He ascended into heaven. Scripture implies this left them confused because they stood gazing at the sky until the angels brought them back to reality.
In our humanity, it seems like this would be a moment of overwhelming sorrow, to be left here on earth without Jesus. But instead, the apostles were filled with great joy. Luke 24:50, says that they "returned to Jerusalem with great joy."
What was the source of their great joy? Was it Jesus's promise that he would be them always, even until the end of time? Was it the assurance of the forthcoming Pentecost, when they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit from on high? Was it their understanding of His TRUE PRESENCE with them in the breaking of the bread...the Holy Eucharist?
These are questions worth pondering as we approach the holy Solemnity of the Ascension. What gave the apostles hope then? What gives us hope today? How can we share our hope with others in the midst of this world of chaos?
Please be sure to join us for this week's Rosary Crusade as we thank God for the great gift of Christ's presence with us always, even to the end of time.
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