It is Ascension Day. Jesus ascended into Heaven out of his own power.
Unlike Mary who was lifted up and carried by angels which is celebrated on “Assumption Day”, Jesus didn’t need other forces. The Son of God is both human and divine.
Traditionally, Ascension Day falls on a Thursday as it is the 40th day after Easter Sunday.
Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven and the Gospel’s call to mission might be the reason for the many processions that take place in Catholic areas around the world.
In the Acts of the Apostles (1:3) it is mentioned why this date was chosen: Jesus had been appearing to the apostles “…during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God”.
To me, this quote describes Jesus’ mission that he handed over to us through the Holy Spirit:
1. The 40 days speak of patience and perseverance – just like the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness or desert and the 40 years Israel spent in the desert.
2. The “speaking about the kingdom of God” motivates us to continuously study, learn and to teach. When Jesus was preparing for his Ascension, he was giving his apostles instructions to continue his work. Through baptism and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are being prepared to follow united with our Sisters and Brothers in Christ. This is also a call to Christian Unity.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.