1st day: the Ascension, forty days after the Resurrection
Acts 1, 1-14
Dear Theophilus, in the first book, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.
When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
40 days after Easter: the Ascension! It is the perfect time for the birth of the disciples. It is a time of revelation.
The number 40 is regularly mentioned in the Bible; it describes the length of rainy days during the flood of Noah, and the period Moses spent on Mt Sinai to receive the holy tables of the Law. In the synoptic gospels, Christ’s temptation in the desert also lasted 40 days.
This duration symbolizes a period of waiting, of trial and of learning.
Prayer for the morning of Ascension, by Cardinal Godfried Daneels
Lord Jesus, when you went up to heaven, the angels told the 11: “do not stay here, looking up to heaven.”
But 40 days before, near the tomb, did not the same angels tell the women ‘Do not look down! He is not here! He is risen”?
Are the angels so whimsical to change their minds this fast?
What to do Lord Jesus? Look down to earth or up toward heaven?
Both ways, You say:
“I am from heaven, look up to heaven then; towards Me and pray. However, I am also on earth, in all the poor, the unimportant, the sick and the sinners. You still have so much to do down below, for them and for me, at least temporarily”.
Lord Jesus, help us look up to heaven, without forgetting the earth, and vice versa. Because all that we do on earth, to those who are yours, we also do it to You.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6