Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jesus' Prayer for the Church at His Ascension

Luke's Gospel tells us something very interesting about Jesus' ascension into Heaven:   "When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them.  While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven" (Lk.24:50-51).  What is the significance?

Each day in the Temple, at the conclusion of the three o'clock tamid - the offering of a lamb, bread, and wine upon the great altar - the Levitical priests gathered on the steps of the Holy Place, stretched their hands out over the crowd of worshipers, and intoned the blessing God had entrusted to Aaron (the first high priest) and his sons, "The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The LORD  lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Numbers 6:23-26).

Jesus blessed the infant Church as He culminated His own offering to the Father - as He ascended the “steps” of the true Holy Place, Heaven (Heb. 9:6-14).  Listen to the blessing at the conclusion of Mass on the Feast of the Ascension - it is Christ's prayer for us:

May almighty God bless you on this day when his only Son
ascended into heaven to prepare a place for you.

R. Amen!

After his resurrection, Christ was seen by His disciples.
When He appears as judge may you be pleasing for ever in His sight.

R. Amen!

You believe that Jesus has taken His seat in majesty at the right hand of the Father. May you have the joy of experiencing that He is also with you to the end of time, according to His promise.
R. Amen!

Happy Feast of the Ascension my friends!

(P.S., If you would like to know more about the way our Lord's human prayer is continued in the Church, you may enjoy Through, With, and In Him.)

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