The Ascension of Our Lord, which occurred 40 days after Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Easter, is the final act of our redemption that Christ began on Good Friday. On this day, the risen Christ, as witnessed by His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven.
The reality of Christ's Ascension is so important that the creeds (the basic statements of belief) of Christianity all affirm, in the words of the Apostles' Creed, that "He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead." Christ's bodily Ascension foreshadows our own entrance into Heaven not simply as souls, after our death, but as glorified bodies, after the resurrection of the dead at the Final Judgment. In redeeming mankind, Christ not only offered salvation to our souls but began the restoration of the material world itself to the glory that God intended before Adam's fall.
Jesus’ ascension into heaven marks not the distance of Christ from mankind but rather His nearness to us. Christ is also visible to us in the Sacraments, where He gives us His promise, His very body and blood. In the Lord’s Supper, Christ gives to us the very same body that ascended into heaven and now “sits at the right hand of the Father”. He gives us His body and His blood to strengthen our faith and to preserve us until He returns in glory, when all will see Him face to face.
This Ascension Day, recall what Jesus accomplished for you. When He ascended into heaven, He received all authority in heaven and on earth so that He can draw near to you and deliver to you what He has promised. Recall how His ascension means that Jesus is not far from you, but so close that He puts His very body and blood into your mouth for the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus’ ascension means He can do exactly what He promises. Let us all remember and rejoice!