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Thursday, May 9, 2013
Ascension of our Lord into Heaven
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INTROIT Acts 1:11
< Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up to heaven? Alleluia! He shall come in the same way as you have seen him going up to heaven, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
 
Ascension Thursday in the liturgical year marks the 40th day after Easter Sunday and the day we celebrate Our Lord's Glorious Ascension into Heaven. The Ascension has three principal parts: the departure of Jesus from earth, His going up into heaven, and taking His place at the right hand of the Father.

As Our Lord ascended, He rose to sit forever at the right-hand of the Father, since He abides eternally in the Father’s bliss, which is termed as “the right hand.” And, while many of us are familiar with the image of Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father, the Scriptures do in one instance mention Christ standing – not sitting – at the right hand of the Father. This instance is during the stoning of Stephen. Reflecting upon this St. Gregory says in a Homily on the Ascension (Hom. xxix in Evang.), "it is the judge's place to sit, while to stand is the place of the combatant or helper. Consequently, Stephen in his toil of combat saw Him standing whom He had as his helper. But Mark describes Him as seated after the Ascension, because after the glory of His Ascension He will at the end be seen as judge."

Regarding the place from which Christ ascended, Sulpicius, bishop of Jerusalem, says, and the 'Gloss' also says, that when a church was built [on the Mount of Olives] later on, the spot where Christ had stood could never be covered with pavement; and more than that, the marble slabs placed there burst upwards into the faces of those who were laying them. He also says that footmarks in the dust there prove that the Lord had stood on that spot: the footprints are discernible and the ground still retains the depressions his feet had left.


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