The “Feast of Ascension” is one of the less known feasts in the liturgical year. Let us look at its importance.
Ascension Day is when the church commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven from the Mount of Olives, celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter.
Looking at the N.T., ascension cannot be an incidental or minor episode in Christian memory. It is recalled in all four Gospels, again in the Acts, in Paul, First Peter, and Revelation. None of the creeds neglected the confession: He ascended into heaven.
From the finite world of space, time, and matter into the transcendent heavenly sphere the Son moved in the ascension. His glorified body rose above both the visible sphere and the invisible sphere, to enter into the presence of the Father. Jesus’ ascension signified His triumph as the victor over sin and death.
From the words of Abp. Craig Bates, for the first time, there is a man in heaven.
Mark describes this event in the fewest of words: “After speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into Heaven and took his seat at God’s right hand” (16:19). This mystery embraces three moments:
(1) Christ’s leaving his disciples, who are to continue his mission on earth;
(2) His triumphant entrance into heaven, whence he had come; finally
(3) his sitting at the Father’s right hand in glory.
This departure of Christ in his humanity was to be the inauguration of a new presence, one more profound and fruitful, for he had said: “If I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). This promise was fulfilled ten days later with the descent of the Holy Spirit. This feast of Christ’s Ascension nourishes and increases our hope of attaining heaven, for he ascended there to prepare a place for us.
by: Bp. Jose Elmer Belmonte
*The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms
*Saints and Feasts of the Liturgical Year. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
*Oden, T. C. (The word of life: systematic theology). San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco.