Did the Ascension Really Happen?

At the climax of the forty days spent with the disciples after his resurrection, Jesus ascended bodily into heaven. Catholics have always understood this to be a literal, miraculous event. We believe it really happened—and as a universal Church, we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension just a couple weeks ago. But the dogma also has its detractors. Some have made a mockery of the doctrine, likening the “flying” Jesus to an Apollo spacecraft, as was a common jest among atheists in the 60s and 70s. Others deny the possibility of the miraculous altogether. Still others, like Episcopalian theologian John Shelby Spong, read the Ascension as nonliteral and symbolic: “A modern person knows that if you rise up off the Earth (as in the ascension), you don’t go to heaven. You go into orbit.” Considering such criticisms, how can Catholics defend the reality of Christ’s ascension? One might sympathize with…
Source: Word on Fire Blog

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