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THE ASCENSION

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Acts 1:1-11

In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and I taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. 'It is' he had said 'what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.'

Now having met together, they asked him, 'Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth'.

As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, 'Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.'

Feast of Ascension


THE ASCENSION: THE LAST ACT OF LIBERATION FROM THE YOKE OF SIN

Vatican City, 20 May 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his remarks before praying the Regina Coeli this morning to the Ascension of the Lord, which in many countries is celebrated today, the Sunday following the feast.

"The Ascension of the Lord", the Pope explained to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, "marks the fulfilment of the salvation which began with the Incarnation. Having instructed His disciples for the last time, Jesus ascended into heaven. Nevertheless, He 'did not separate Himself from our condition' because, in His humanity, he drew mankind into intimacy with the Father and thus revealed the final destination of our earthly pilgrimage. Just as, for us, He descended from heaven and suffered death on the cross, so too, for us, He arose and returned to God, Who is thus no longer distant, but is 'our God', 'our Father'. The Ascension is the last act of our liberation from the yoke of sin".

The Holy Father recalled St. Leo the Great's explanation that "this mystery proclaims not only the immortality of the soul, but also that of the flesh. ... For this reason, when the disciples saw the Master arise from the earth and ascend towards heaven, they were not discouraged but experienced great joy and felt impelled to proclaim Christ's victory over death".

"The Ascension", the Holy Father concluded, "tells us that in Christ our humanity is raised to the heights of God and so, each time we pray, earth unites with heaven".