“Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).
In the Chapel of the Incarnate Word, this window is opposite the Annunciation window, the two that glorify the human body. The two windows represent God in the person of Jesus coming to be among us in a human body, and the glorified body leaving us physically, but not in spirit and mission. “With all due solemnity we are commemorating that day on which our poor human nature was carried up in Christ … to the very throne of God the Father” (St. Leo the Great, Sermon on the Ascension).
Before he ascends, Jesus gives his mission to his disciples, and to us, when he says: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them … And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
So both through the Incarnation, and the Ascension, we “bodies” are given a dignity beyond human expression. During this COVID time, let us keep in prayer the immense bodily suffering so many are experiencing. Let us pray for those who care for the bodies, while ill, dying, and in death. Let us not forget those who suffer bullying because of their bodies. Let us respect and love our own bodies. Let us remember that the body holds the whole person, worthy of all love and compassion. Every body. Every person.