The Feast of the Ascension is May 10 and is always celebrated on a Thursday. Forty days after Easter, we commemorate the day Jesus ascended or went up to Heaven. Why do we celebrate the day Jesus left us? There does not seem to be too much to celebrate.
On the Ascension, Jesus and his disciples gathered together for the last time. While they were together, Jesus was taken up to Heaven and disappeared into the clouds.
Forever With Us
We say in the Apostle’s Creed:
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come to judge the living and the dead.
When Jesus ascended into Heaven, two angels appeared to the apostles and told them that Jesus will come back the same way He went up. At the end of time, Jesus will return again! But in the meantime, are we alone? Of course not! It may seem we are, but He is closer to us than ever.
He himself promised:
Behold I will be with you always, to the end of the age.
In the Acts of the Apostles, it says, in Jesus’ own words, that he went to prepare a place for us:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.
Jesus did not leave us alone because He sent us the Holy Spirit. At the right hand of the Father, Jesus intercedes for us and is with us as He promised. When he Ascended, He left the authority of the Church in Peter’s hands – this authority has been handed to Popes throughout history.
The Ascension for Children
The most important concept about the Ascension for children to understand is that Jesus is always with us even though He is not present physically. It is similar to when a parent goes away on a business trip. They may be gone, but they still love us and they will come back. Sometimes our feelings do not allow us to see the whole picture. We need to take comfort and encourage children to take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus always keeps His promises.
“Jesus did not solely die on the cross – He died for you! Every drop of His blood was shed for you. Every step, every humiliation, every strike, every whip, every mocking, every piercing nail…you were always on his mind.” Unknown