Sunday, June 2
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Luke 24: 46-53
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you;
but stay in the city
until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany,
raised his hands, and blessed them.
As he blessed them he parted from them
and was taken up to heaven.
They did him homage
and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.
The Resurrection of Christ had been witnessed by the disciples “after the fact;” they saw the empty tomb, they witnessed the Risen and Glorified Body of Christ in his post-Resurrection appearances, and they learned from His own lips their apostolic mission of spreading the Gospel. But for all that, they had not witnessed the literal moment of Christ’s rising from the tomb, the rolling away of the stone, which took place unseen in the still darkness of Easter morning.
But Christ grants to them a singular privilege, of witnessing with their own physical eyes His Ascension. The Christ they saw persecuted, tortured, killed, and then Risen and Alive, they now see returning to the Father. They can truly attest: Christ has returned to the heavenly Kingdom, taking into the heart of the divine mystery His glorified Body, a living testament to His Redemption of all humanity from the shackles of sin and death.