- P. Tarcisio
What does the Word of God tell us this Sunday? Ascension of the Lord
First Reading (Acts 1:1-11): By ascending to heaven, Jesus entrusts his mission to the apostles. The Holy Spirit will give you the strength to bear witness to Christ the Lord before all the world.
Second Reading (Eph 1:17-23): Paul writes that Christ is now the glorious Lord who lives in the Church. May we feel his Spirit in us to experience God in our lives and so that we, his Church, may live the life of Christ.
Gospel (Mt 28:16-20): Jesus has physically left, but he has left us a task: Bring to everyone the message of the Good News of salvation. He remains with us and accompanies us on this mission.
Jesus' Ascension into heaven
Jesus returns to the father, says goodbye to his disciples, making this promise to them: "... and know that I will be with you every day, until the end of the world." These are his last words in the Gospel of Matthew, just as Matthew himself had assured us in his first chapter, that Jesus is our "God-with-us". He stays with us now, but in another way: through his Spirit, in the community of believers, which is his body; in the signs of bread and wine in the Eucharist; wherever people gather in his name, as we are doing here right now; also in the poor and weak today.
The mission of sharing his message continues in the life of every Christian. And that preaching must be accompanied by works of kindness to help those who need the message of hope, and those who have material need for their sustenance. The feast of the ascension also reminds us that Jesus comes forward to prepare a place for us. It reminds us that beyond the pain of death is the hope of eternal life.