In the 40 days after He resurrected from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His apostles — in their homes, on the road, by the shores of the lake . . . .
Every time, strangely, His apostles did not recognize Him at first. We are told that’s because Jesus is transfigured — just as we, should we be so blessed, will be in “glorified bodies” when we are resurrected from the dead at the end of this world.
How precious those times must be which the apostles shared with their risen Lord.
And then, 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus told the apostles:
“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.”
Every time I read that passage, I weep, as I imagine how wrenching it must be for the apostles to say goodbye to their lord, master and friend forever.
But of course, Jesus would not just abandon His apostles — nor us.
John 14:19, 18, 16-17
“the world will not see me anymore . . .
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him,
for He lives with you
and will be in you.”
Not only did the Father send us the Holy Spirit, who dwells within the baptized, Jesus also left us His Body and Blood.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
How very much He must love us . . . .
Note: JHS (or IHS) is the acronym for the Latin words, Jesus Honinum Salvator -Jesus Savior of Mankind.
May the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you, and remember to tell Him that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with every ounce of your strength and every fiber of your being.
Thank you Dr. E. for this most magnificent post! I love the way Jesus’ Ascension into heaven is depicted – how powerful and wonderful! And as you pointed out, He did not leave us as orphans and He is always with us. It is absolutely remarkable and incredible to know that Our Lord Jesus is present, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the hosts and wine after Consecration of them during the Mass, and that in every Catholic Church in the Blessed Sacrament He is there! St. Athanasius said that “God has made Himself accessible to us.”