Posted On 2016-05-16 In Something to think about

Permanent and intimate closeness to Jesus

By Fr. Oscar Iván Saldivar •

At the close of the Easter season, the Church invites us to reflect on the “ascension” of the Lord, the Resurrected Christ, into Heaven.

What does the Ascension of the Lord mean? What are we celebrating?

Every Sunday we recite in the Creed: “I believe in Jesus Christ…and ascended into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father Almighty.” In this Mass we celebrate the “ascension,” the Resurrected Jesus rising up into heaven. But do we understand what we are celebrating? Do we allow our hearts to be touched by this mystery in the life of Jesus?

Dear friends, as St. Paul said in the Letter to the Ephesians, it is about appreciating the hope to which we have been called (see Eph 1:18).

In order to appreciate this hope – what we hope for – it is worth asking ourselves: where does the Resurrected Jesus rise to? Some might say: the answer is obvious: heaven!…Is the answer really obvious? What do we mean when we say Heaven? Is it a faraway place in the highest part of the celestial space? Is it a “place,” a “space”? What does our faith express when we say: he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father?

Dear friends, Heaven is not a place – a place deeper in our human world – but rather the full communion with God, with the Father. The Resurrected Lord, the one who spent his life doing good for others and gave himself for each one of us, enters into full communion with the Father. And he had already proclaimed this, as we see in St. John’s Gospel: “I am going to the Father” (Jn 14:12), more than that “I am in the Father” (Jn 14:11)

What does the Ascension of the Lord mean for us?

It is precisely because Jesus is in the Father, that He can be close to each one of us, in every time and place. By entering into full communion with God, he shares in his omnipresence.

Thus, the Ascension of the Lord does not Jesus’ distance from us, but rather his permanent and intimate closeness. [1] This is why he tells us: “I will be with you always, until the ends of the earth” (Mt 28:20). Fr. Joseph Kentenich expressed Jesus’ intimate closeness to us in the Eucharist, in the beautiful prayer at communion: “Just as you reign in the heights of heaven and dwell transfigured with the Father, you are, with your entire being, deep in the shrine of my heart.” (Heavenwards, 143)

The Ascension is also points us towards the goal of our pilgrimage: Heaven, the heart of the Heavenly Father. We are all called to go where Jesus has gone. [2] There, our life is not an aimless wandering but a pilgrimage to the Father, into his heart, where we, where every human being has a place.

Yes, today we are joyful and give thanks to God, because in the Ascenson of his Son, our humanity is also elevated with Him. [3] And this shows us that every aspect of our lives – personal, family, work, and community – and all of the aspects of our personality – intellect, will, feelings, emotions, body and sexuality – have a place in God. Yes, the Resurrected Jesus takes our humanity into full communion with God, with the Father. There is nothing about our humanity that we cannot share with God our Father.

Dear friends, heaven is the heart of the Father, a real place. Jesus is already living there and therefore can live in our hearts. And his constant closeness gives life to our pilgrimage to the Father.

Let us go on pilgrimage today, let us go on pilgrimage in prayer every day to the heart of the Father and let us place our human lives in his heart. Let it be so. Amen.


[1] Cf. J. RATZINGER/BENEDICTO XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection (Ignatius Press, London 2011), 326s.
[2] “My Father’s house has many rooms…And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (Jn 14,2.3).
[3] Cf. Recollection prayer for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.


Original: Spanish. English translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa


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