What does the Catholic Church celebrate on the Solemnity of the Ascension?

Jasjot Singh

On the occasion of the liturgical feast of the Ascension of the Lord, to be held next Sunday, May 29, the Bishop of Córdoba, Msgr. Demetrio Fernández, recalled why in this celebration we Catholics remember that “Heaven is our goal.”

The Solemnity of the Ascension was celebrated on May 26, Thursday of the sixth week of Easter, which is 40 days after the Resurrection of Christ, according to the account of the Gospel of Saint Luke and the Acts of the Apostles of the Bible. But, its liturgical feast is moved to the seventh Sunday of Easter, which this year is May 29, 2022.

On May 26, in his weekly pastoral letter, Msgr. Fernández recalled that this Sunday we will celebrate “the feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven”, when “forty days after his resurrection, Jesus gathered his apostles and, in front of them, was raised to Heaven, until they lost sight of him.

The Prelate explained that with his Ascension, “Jesus culminated his glorification seated at the right hand of the Father, as Lord and judge, who will come gloriously at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead.”

In this sense, he recalled in his letter entitled “Heaven is our goal”, that “for a Christian, looking at Heaven means directing his heart towards that happy situation that God has prepared for each one of us, and in which Jesus precedes us.”

Archbishop Fernandez recalled that currently there are two “main obstacles” that prevent us from looking to heaven as our goal: the pleasure of life on earth, and the Marxist-based ideologies of our times.

Regarding the first obstacle, he recalled that “the pleasant life in this world makes us forget heaven”, because “it seems to us that we will be better off on earth enjoying what life can offer us”.

“If they talk to us about Heaven, we agree, but we think that Heaven can wait and now that they let us enjoy the goods of the earth. A life built around pleasure has no interest in Heaven; he only remembers heaven when he gets frustrated or upset,” he explained.

Archbishop Fernández said that the second obstacle is “the materialistic vision of life and history, which leads to the denial of God and Heaven” and that is present in “Marxism, one of the prevailing ideologies in our days” , where it is thought that “talking about Heaven is like an evasion of the commitment to transform this world”.

Marxists consider speaking of heaven “as an alienation, as a hindrance to development. And sometimes Christians get caught up in this ideology and deprive them of the foretaste of heaven that we hope for,” he said.

In the midst of this reality, the Prelate affirmed that the Ascension of the Lord to Heaven is a “feast of joy for the Christian, because he knows that the path opened by Jesus is the highway on which we have to walk.”

For Catholics, “knowing that joy awaits us in the end makes us enjoy it now in hope”, since “the certainty of life beyond death, and of a happy life with God forever, is a continuous spring before the difficulties of life, which are not lacking”, he said.

In this sense, Msgr. Fernández affirmed that “on the feast of the Ascension we celebrate Christ”, head of the Church and of humanity, because what happened to him is “an announcement and a preview of what will happen in all of us”. .

The Prelate recalled that this already happened with the Virgin Mary in her Assumption into heaven body and soul, a feast that we celebrate on August 15. The Mother of God was “glorified even in her human body, like ours,” and she “is the advancement of all humanity, which will one day be glorified like her,” he said.

Also, Bishop Fernández recalled that before his Ascension, Jesus told his disciples: “It is convenient for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Holy Spirit cannot come to you”, and explained that the “visible and palpable absence of Jesus” is “good for us”, because “fasting” to our senses helps us to deepen his message.

He explained that when Jesus was physically on earth, “his contemporaries lived by what they saw and heard of him”, but he recalled that “God’s plan, for those contemporaries and for all of us, is that all of that remains internalized in our hearts. , and from within it floods all the areas of our life, transfiguring them”.

Finally, the Prelate asked to pray for the Church, especially for communicators, who will also celebrate “World Communications Day” on Sunday, so that “they can tell others what they have heard with their hearts.”

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