Ascension of the Lord
Wednesday, May 29
Mass at 5:30 pm
Thursday, May 30
Masses at 6:45 and 8:15 am; and 12:10 and 7:00 pm (bilingual)
The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, a holy day of obligation commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven. The Ascension is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter (following the count given in Acts 1:3), although some dioceses have moved the observance to the following Sunday (7th Sunday of Easter). The Diocese of Trenton together with the other dioceses of New Jersey and the Northeast celebrate this solemnity on Thursday.
The well-known narrative in Acts 1 takes place 40 days after the Resurrection: Jesus, in the company of the disciples, is taken up in their sight after warning them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit; as he ascends a cloud hides him from their view, and two men in white appear to tell them that he will return "in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
"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." Christ's body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys. But during 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 ordinary humanity. Jesus' final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God's right hand. Only in a wholly 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.
Christ's Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus' humanity into God's heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf. Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides him from the eyes of men (cf. Col 3:3). Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father's glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever. Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #659, 665-667)