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Jesus opens the way to heaven for us
Based on Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Heb 9:24-28, 10:19-23; Lk 24:46-53
It’s probably easier to understand this Sunday’s first reading from Acts and the Gospel in reverse order. Luke’s brief account of Jesus’ Ascension ends his Gospel. The apostles return to Jerusalem to spend time in prayer awaiting the power of the Holy Spirit to teach them the full meaning of Jesus’ message and make them bold evangelizers and witnesses for Jesus. How all this happens is found in Luke’s other book, the Acts of the Apostles.
The reading from Ephesians is a prayer for knowledge of God, hope in the glory to which God has called us and an understanding of God the Father’s power in what he has done in and through his Son, Jesus. We hear, too, that the church is a body and Christ is the head of that body.
Hebrews teaches that Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice for sin – himself. It need not be repeated – unlike the sacrifices by the high priests in the Old Testament. Jesus is in heaven and has opened the way for us to be there as well.
Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of his Father. Even though we don’t see Jesus visibly on earth as the apostles did, he is present in the church through the Holy Spirit, through his Word, and through the sacraments. As baptized Catholics, we are called, like his early followers, to witness for Jesus.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit” (CCC #667).
Jesus’ Ascension into heaven is the second Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. Pray your rosary with special attention during this month of May, Mary’s month, as you meditate on the events in her Son Jesus’ life.