Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature Sunday, 13 May 2018
Gospel: John 19:9-17
Forty days after the Resurrection — according to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles — Jesus ascended into Heaven, that is he returned to the Father, by whom he had been sent into the world. 
The Ascension of the Lord marks the fulfillment of salvation that started with the Incarnation. After he had instructed his disciples for the last time, Jesus was taken up into Heaven. 
He, however, “was not separated from our condition”; indeed, in his humanity, he took man with him into the intimacy of the Father and thus revealed the final destination of our earthly pilgrimage. 
As he descended from Heaven for us, and for us suffered and died on the Cross, so for us he rose and ascended to God, who, therefore, is no longer far away.
St Leo the Great explains that with this mystery “not only is the immortality of the soul proclaimed, but also that of the body. Today in fact, not only are we confirmed as possessors of paradise, but in Christ have also penetrated the heights of Heaven”. 
This is why the disciples, when they saw the Master rise from the ground and ascend upwards, they were not disheartened, as one might expect, instead, they were overcome with joy and felt compelled to proclaim Christ’s victory over death. And the Risen Lord worked in each of them, bestowing on each his own charism. 
St Paul writes further: “He gave gifts to men ... and his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers ... for building up of the body of Christ ... to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”.
The Ascension tells us that in Christ our humanity is brought to the heights of God; thus, every time we pray, earth is united to Heaven. And like incense, burning, its scent is carried on high, hence, when we raise our prayer to the Lord with confidence in Christ, it travels across Heaven and reaches God himself and is heard and answered by Him. 
In the well-known work by St John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, we read that “in order to obtain the fulfilment of the petitions which we have in our hearts, there is no better way than to direct the energy of our prayer to the thing that most pleases God. For then not only will He give that which we ask of Him, which is salvation, but also that which He sees to be fitting and good for us, although we pray not for it”.
Finally let us beseech the Virgin Mary, that she may help us to contemplate the heavenly goods, which the Lord promises us, and to become ever more credible witnesses of his Resurrection, of true Life.