This week’s readings are, in short, about the Ascension of our Lord to heaven where he takes his place at the right hand of our Father. As big as the event is, I feel like the most important part is what happens right before Jesus ascends. In all three readings, Jesus leaves his apostles with an especially important task, that of going out and spreading the good word and his love.
We are, and have been entrusted to be, Jesus’s hands, and we are his feet, and we are his voice when we go out into the world. Those who believe in Jesus will be empowered to do what Jesus himself has done. During his ministry, Jesus sent his disciples to preach, to heal, and to spread hope. Now they are sent again to do these things and more. From his place with God in heaven, Jesus helped his disciples, and he continues to help us as we try to live as his followers. The Ascension is not about Jesus leaving, or abandoning his disciples, or us for that matter! It is, rather, a great symbol of the trust and confidence that Jesus has in us, perhaps more than we do in ourselves or others.
The Scriptures teach us what the Ascension really means: #1- we are now really, through Christ, placed in the presence of God; #2- we are invited through Christ into an intimacy with God; #3- that heaven is not ‘a place’ but rather a presence in which we choose to live, now, and #4- Jesus entrusts us with the responsibility of proclaiming the reign of God. To quote Father Mulcahy from the show M*A*S*H, “God didn’t put us here for that pat on the back. He created us so he could be here himself. So, He could exist in the lives of those He created, in His image.” And I think that quote sums up that especially important task that Jesus left us. For God to exist in our lives, we need to be his hands, his feet and most importantly his voice. Let us spread the good word, through our thoughts, our actions, and our words. God bless!