May 9, 2024 is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. There are two things that we can learn from the Ascension of the Lord:

  1. The Triumphant return of the Son to the Father             

Regarding the Ascension, St. Paul said that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, in accord with the exercise of His great might, which He worked in Christ, raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. (cf. Eph 1:17-21) St. Peter said something similar about the Ascension; that Christ, who has gone into heaven, is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him. (cf. 1 Peter 3:22)

Note that St. Paul and St. Peter were not talking about earthly rulers at all; they were talking about the different ranks of angels. St. Paul writes that Jesus, who ascended into heaven, is far above any of these angels. St. Peter writes that all these angels are subject to Jesus, who ascended into heaven. There are nine choirs of angels as we know it, here is the list ranked from highest to lowest: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.

Forty days after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, He gloriously ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. Jesus returned to the Father in His glorified body; therefore, His Ascension into heaven signifies His participation, in His humanity, in God’s power and authority. (cf. CCC 668) The Ascension is more than just Jesus’ homecoming in heaven; rather, it is the triumphant return of the Son to the Father; the Son who is the “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (cf. 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16)

  • Countdown to the Second Coming         

Since the Ascension, the countdown to the Second Coming of Christ has begun. We are already at “the last hour” (1 Jn 2:18) (CCC 670). In His Ascension, Jesus Christ has completed His redemptive mission on earth and fulfilled the Paschal Mystery (which is His Suffering, Death, Resurrection and Ascension). The Ascension of the Lord ushers in a time of waiting and watching; it is a time of the Holy Spirit and of witness, but it is also a time marked by “distress” and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church; it ushers in the struggles of the last days (cf. CCC 672).

Before Christ’s second coming, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God… (cf. CCC 675)

It has been over two thousand years since the Ascension of our Lord, but His Second Coming has not yet occurred. Some people have lost hope that it will ever occur; therefore, they have become like the wicked servant who says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed;’ he begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards. But the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. (cf. Matthew 24:48-51) When Jesus Christ comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, He will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace. (CCC 682)