Lesson 35: Main Street

He ascended into heaven.

On a Thursday, forty days after Easter Sunday, our Lord went back from Bethany (St. Luke 24, 51) to the heaven from which he had come thirty-three years before. A cloud hid him from human sight (Acts 1,9).

During this first Eastertide he had proved to his eleven Apostles (why only eleven? Acts 1, 15 to 26 tells you how the number was made up again to twelve - though I always feel a bit sorry for Joseph Barsabas, don’t you?) that he was really risen from the dead, had told them to take Christianity to every one (St. Matthew 28, 19), had taught them about the Church and the Sacraments (Acts 1, 3), and had promised them that although they would no longer be able to see him on earth he would never be far from them (St. Matthew 28, 20).

Then, with hands still marked with the scars of the wounds made forty-three days before, he blessed them, and returned on Ascension Day to heaven his home.

When he left heaven, to go to his Mother Mary and Bethlehem, he was God: when he went back, he was God and Man.

It is most important that you and I should never forget this; that we should always remember that on Ascension Day the Lord Jesus did not leave behind at Bethany his human body and his human soul.

Because, you see, it means that in heaven now, on this Sunday afternoon more than nineteen hundred years after, he is still Man, one of us, our Brother, our Man as well as our Lord; and that it is in our power to follow him there. Heaven is our home, as well as his, because of Ascension Day. every road may be a road to heaven: even if it is a not particularly clean small street in which are a horse-trough, a number of little houses, The Mother Kate Homes, gasworks, The Duke of York, and a St. Augustine’s Church.