Praying the Gospel through the Rosary: The Ascension
Submitted by Deacon Jim Krupka
This final event in Jesus’ earthly ministry is closely linked to the first. Our faith tells us that He descended from Heaven and became one of us through his Incarnation. As we ponder the Second Glorious Mystery, the Ascension, the Catechism describes this connection. “Only the one who ‘came from the Father’ can return to the Father: Christ Jesus” (CCC, 661). Mark describes the day. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mk 16:19). The Ascension was the call to the disciples to get on with the work Jesus commanded them to do. While they were looking at the sky, suddenly, two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. The men 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.” (Acts 1:10-11).
We recite in the Apostle’s Creed: “On the third day He rose again; He ascended into Heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” The last part of this passage is food for thought: the words about judgment. We are reminded that there will be a day when we must account for what we do with our life. We all want to be innocent and virtuous but are imperfectly human. Jesus’ Gospel combining judgment with forgiveness is to spur us to become more Christ-like. Understanding that our actions have consequences motivates us to avoid sin. When we take the Gospel truth that God is Love, we can guide our efforts to be closer to Jesus, whom we love. Indeed, we want to avoid sin and the punishment that goes with it. Our meditation on this mystery gets rich when we focus on our ultimate destination as Heaven.
Jesus ascended into Heaven and left us what we need to go home to Him. We have the Church and all the daily encouragement and strength we can get from it. Within the Church, we have the Sacrament of Confession. This is our opportunity to do course corrections. We are guided within our Church to find God’s graces through prayer. We focus on the Lord when we pray, crowding out thoughts that tempt us into sin. Instead, we move to the more Christlike path to eternity with him.