‘All peoples, clap your hands, cry to God with shouts of joy! For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear, great king over all the earth.'
O Jesus! Here we see you on the mountaintop with your mother Mary, the apostle, and many disciples. This brings back for some the memory of the mountain of the Transfiguration. There, only three people contemplated your glory.
For 40 days you have prepared us for this return to your Father and our Father. What sadness and joy this separation brings. You do not leave us orphans, your spirit burns within us. After the Transfiguration, you told your apostles not to speak about what they had seen.
Now, on the contrary, you send us out to proclaim your Resurrection to all the nations, beginning with those closest to us.
Let us stop gazing up at the skies awaiting the return of Christ and instead let us go out, let us go to announce the Good News. Others are thirsting for God, let us bring them the water of life, Eternal Life.
What joy this message of hope brings! The joy of the return to your Father and our Father! The joy of the gift of the Holy Spirit! Amen, Alleluia!
‘Courage, do not be afraid, I am with you always until the end of the age.'
Christ is always present amongst us. Even though, since the Ascension, he is no longer physically with us, he is here in the sacraments – in particular in the Eucharist. He is also present with those who pray, whether alone or in groups: ‘ When two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them' as he once said to his apostles (Mt. 18:20). Finally, the completion of his earthly life allows for his presence amongst the people of every age and every place.
The Ascension is not a departure which would give way to absence and emptiness but it is a new situation: Jesus is invisible but he is not absent. Quite the opposite: he is still present, but in another way, present there where two or three are gathered in his name, present in the bread and the wine of the Eucharist, present in the hungry person we feed or the sick person we visit, present in the shared liturgy of the community as well as in the prayer we made in the secret of our rooms. He is present in his Mother whom he sends to earth to draw people back to him.
Lord Jesus, during a meal with your disciples, you gave them a commandment to love: help your Church to proclaim your Word through celebrating your Eucharist! Console all those who are not able to attend your banquet through ignorance, through unbelief, through impediments!
Through the intercession of Mary, your mother, present in the midst of the apostles as they prayed, grant us the graces we ask of you to strengthen our faith and our love. Amen.
Cardinal Godfried Daneels' Prayer on the morning of the Ascension
Lord Jesus, when you ascended into heaven, the angels said to the eleven: “Do not stay there looking at the heavens!”
But forty days earlier, by the tomb, did not the same angels say to the women: “Do not look downwards! He is not here. He is risen.”?
Would it not have been fickle of the angels to change their minds so quickly?
What are we to do Lord Jesus: look downwards towards the earth or upwards towards the heavens?
Toward both, You tell us: “I am in heaven, so look upwards to me and pray. But I am also on earth in the poor, the weak, the ill and sinners. You still have so much to do down there, for them and for me, at least for the time being.
Lord Jesus, make us look to the heavens, without forgetting the earth, and vice versa. For every time that we do something on earth to serve one of our brothers whom you created, it is indeed You whom we are serving.
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