"Lifting up his hands he blessed them."
When Jesus was taken from the Apostles sight by the cloud, this does not mean that he was transported to another cosmic location, but that he was taken up into God’s very being, participating in God’s powerful presence in the world.
In the Epilogue of his book ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ Pope Benedict XVI writes:
"At the ending of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus led his followers into the vicinity of Bethany, we are told. ‘Lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.’ (Luke 24:50-51.) Jesus departs in the act of blessing. He goes while blessing, and he remains in that gesture of blessing. His hands remain stretched out over this world. The blessing hands of Christ are like a roof that protects us. But at the same time, they are a gesture of opening up, tearing the world open so that heaven may enter in, may become “present” within it…In faith we know that Jesus holds his hands stretched out in blessing over us. That is the lasting motive of Christian joy.”
During the liturgy on this holy day you could make a special feature of blessing each other. This could be as simple as the Sign of Peace, and consciously making the Sign of the Cross with deep reverence at the final blessing. There are so many reasons to bless each other and also to be a blessing for others.
Acts 1: 1-11 Why are you standing here looking into the sky? Jesus has been taken into heaven.
Ps 46. R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
Eph 1:17-23 He made Jesus to sit at his right hand in heaven.
Alleluia, alleluia! Go and teach all people my gospel. I am with you always until the end of the world. Alleluia.
Luke 24: 46-53 While blessing them, he was taken to heaven.
Why are we standing around looking up? We have been commissioned to witness to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
This Jesus is with us always and forever - what an incredible joyful message that is. How well do we let others see the joy?
Art works showing Jesus floating up into the clouds and disappearing from our sight gives us the wrong message. Do you know why?
Crown Him with many crowns is a hymn of praise and triumph.
You can sing with the lyrics of this choral version HERE.