These notes can be used for sermon/homily ideas, points of meditation or for further study.
“A cloud received Him out of their sight.”
Each mystery of Our Lord’s history presents thoughts and lessons. Consider some in reference to His Ascension.
He was taken to Heaven:
I. Not by the hands of Angels,
II. But by His own divine power, as God-Man. By the “agility” imparted to His glorified Humanity,
III. Opening to man the gates of Heaven, closed by Adam’s sin.
IV. Why at the early age of 34? It was popularly held that the years 34-36 were those of a man’s prime and perfection, probably on the basis of Psalm 90:10 where it is stated that the average mans life span is 70 years, 35 being half of this.
a. Christ came to offer His life to redeem us.
1. Befitting that this should be in the fulness of age; for,
2. Adam was created, and sinned, in perfect manhood.
3. Christ repaired this evil at that same age.
b. He had completed the work He came to do: viz.:
1. The preaching of His doctrine.
2. The practising of all virtues.
3. The working of many miracles.
4. The founding of His Church on earth.
c. Heaven thus now due to His sacred Humanity. As it is also promised to His followers.
d. To teach us not to desire long life, but Heaven rather.
Forty days after the Resurrection:
I. The number 40 is sacred and of frequent use in Scripture:
a. The deluge lasted 40 days : Gen 7:4.
b. Moses was 40 days on the mount: Exodus 24:18.
c. Our Lord fasted 40 days: Matt 4:2
II. Fulfilling types of old:
a. God showed Himself 40 days to Moses, in giving the Old Law. Christ spent 40 days with the Apostles, completing the New Law.
b. The Jews wandered 40 years in the desert, journeying towards Cana.
1. Christ remained 40 days before returning to Heaven.
2. This also denotes our whole life of exile on earth,
III. A recompense to His Apostles, for His 40 hours’ separation from them, in death.
IV. Gradually weaning them from His visible presence,
V. Showing His liberality in bestowing consolation :
a. For 40 hours’ withdrawal, He gives 40 days of His presence.
b. Thus does He also deal with souls : joy after pain.
Speaking of the Kingdom of God:
I. The Kingdom of Heaven and its glory.
The eternal reward for which all must strive,
II. The Kingdom of the Church on earth:
a. Where God reigns in souls by His grace.
b. Which is the way to the Church in Heaven,
III. Giving the Apostles instructions, as to
a. The constitution of the Church.
b. The preaching of the Gospel to men.
c. The Sacraments and Sacrifice.
d. The Christian virtues, leading to Heaven.
e. The spiritual trials and persecutions to come (Matt 11:12).
IV. Teaching us to think and speak of Heaven:
a. Heaven, our support in trial.
b. Heaven, the reward of our fidelity. Faith in which will make us strong in God (Heb 11).
Let us to-day fix our eyes and hearts on Our Lord ascending to Heaven (whence He came to redeem us) which we must all strive to gain. ~By Fr. William Howe, Sermon Plan 63.