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Jesus Ascended Into Heaven

He Ascended Into Heaven And Is Seated At The Right Hand Of The Father

“So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was raised up into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God.” Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as shown by the supernatural properties it consequently and permanently enjoys. However throughout the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of normal humankind. Jesus’ last apparition ends with the permanent entry of his humanity into divine glory, signified by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand. Only in a completely exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.

The veiled character of the glory of the Risen One during this time is intimated in his seemingly strange words to Mary Magdalene: “I have not yet risen to the Father; however go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” This indicates a difference in manifestation between the glory of the risen Christ which of the Christ exalted to the Father’s right hand, a transition marked by the transcendent and historical occasion of the Ascension.

This final stage remains carefully associated with the first, that is, to his descent from heaven in the Incarnation. Only the one who “originated from the Father” can go back to the Father: Christ Jesus. “No one has risen into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.” Left to its own natural powers mankind does not have access to the “Father’s house”, to God’s life and happiness. It is only Christ who can open to man such access so that we, his members, might have confidence that we too shall go where he, our Head and our Source, has gone ahead of us.

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” The raising of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by his Ascension into heaven, and undoubtedly begins it. Jesus Christ, the one priest of the eternal and new Covenant, “entered, not into a haven made by human hands … but rather into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” There Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he “constantly lives to make intercession” for “those who through him, draw near to God.”  As “high priest of the good things to come” he is the center and the primary actor of the liturgy that honors the Father in heaven.

Henceforth Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father: “By ‘the Father’s right hand’ we comprehend the glory and honor of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, certainly as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified.”.

Being seated at the Father’s right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah’s kingdom, the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel’s vision about the Son of man: “To him was given rule and glory and kingdom, that all nations, languages, and individuals should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall never be destroyed.” After this event the apostles became witnesses of the “kingdom that will have no end”.

Ref. Catechism Of The Catholic Church 659-664

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