The Ascension of the Lord - Solemnity - Year C
Christ opens the way for us
“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (Jn 14:2)…, The Lord knew that many such dwelling places already prepared were awaiting the arrival of those who love God. Therefore he did not give this as the reason for his departure, but rather his desire to open the way for our ascent to those heavenly places and to prepare a safe passage for us by making smooth the road that had previously been impassible. For heaven was then completely inaccessible to us — human foot had never trodden that pure and holy country of the angels.
It was Christ who first prepared the way for our ascent there. By offering himself to God the Father as the firstfruits of all who are dead and buried, he gave us a way of entry into heaven and was himself the first human being the inhabitants of heaven ever saw. The angels in heaven, knowing nothing of the sacred and profound mystery of the incarnation, were astonished at his coming and almost thrown into confusion by an event so strange and unheard of. “Who is this coming from Edom?” they asked (Is 63:1); that is, from the earth. But the Spirit did not leave the heavenly throng ignorant… Commanding them to open the gates of heaven in honor of the King and Master of the universe, he cried out: “Lift up your gates, you princes, and be lifted up you everlasting doors, that the king of glory may come in!” (Ps 23:7 LXX).
And so our Lord Jesus Christ has opened up for us “a new and living way”, as Paul says, “not by entering a sanctuary made with hands, but by entering heaven itself to appear before God on our behalf” (Heb 10:20; 9:24).