you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
The last words of today’s Gospel (John 1:47-51) present us with an interesting image.
Scholars say it is an allusion to “Jacob’s ladder” (Genesis 28:12) which was actually more accurately translated as “stairway”.
Our modern experience might even update this image (if you think climbing a few flights of stairs is hard, imagine climbing a stairway to heaven!) to something like a celestial escalator, enabling the angels of God to ascend and descend effortlessly.
However it is imagined, what does it really mean for our Lord to speak of angels of God ascending and descending on Him?
The key point is that Jesus alone is the connection between God and humanity: no one comes to the Father except through Christ and nothing that the Father does for humanity is without Christ.
Angels exist and are at work in our midst, but it is only by the power of God that their work has effect and it is only through Christ that they minister to humanity.
If that is the case for angels – powerful spiritual beings that they are – how much more so for us: all that we do must be done in Christ, through Christ, and for Christ.