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Pope's General Audience: Understanding the Ascension of the Lord

2013-04-17

SEE CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In our catechesis on the Creed during this Year of Faith, we now consider the article which deals with Christ’s Ascension: “He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father”.  Saint Luke invites us to contemplate the mystery of the Ascension in the light of the Lord’s entire life, and particularly his decision to “ascend” to Jerusalem to embrace his saving passion and death in obedience to the Father’s will (cf. Lk 9:51). 

Two aspects of Luke’s account are significant.  First, before returning to the glory of the Father, the risen Jesus blesses his disciples (Lk 24:50).  Jesus thus appears as our eternal Priest. True God and true man, he now for ever intercedes for us before the Father. 

Second, Luke tells us that the Apostles returned to Jerusalem “with great joy” (Lk 24:51).  They realize that the risen Lord, though no longer physically present, will always be with them, guiding the life of the Church until he returns in glory.

As we contemplate the mystery of the Ascension, may we too bear joyful witness to the Lord’s resurrection, his loving presence in our midst, and the triumph of his Kingdom of life, holiness and love.

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I offer a cordial welcome to the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and I assure them of my prayers for their episcopal ministry.  I also greet the priests of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College.  Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Canada and the United States, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Lord.