When Jesus returned to the right hand of his Father, he called his disciples together to the top of the Mount of Olives. In Sacred Scripture the mountaintop is seen as the place of Divine revelation. On the mountaintop people feel closer to God and in the very presence of God.
Today’s Feast of the Ascension has Jesus preparing to leave this world and assume the glory that was his before the world began. As Jesus ascended, he directed the disciple’s eyes upward, towards the place where he was going.
However, he also pointed their eyes outwards. Jesus showed them that there was a world out there waiting to hear the Good News of salvation. Jesus commissioned them to spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth, and promised to send them the Holy Spirit to equip them for that mission.
After Jesus ascended, the apostles heard the angels say, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the heavens?” With those words they were being told to go forth and carry out the mission Jesus had entrusted to them. Preach the Gospel and baptize people. And Jesus left them with a promise, “I Am with you always until the end of the age.”
The mission entrusted to the apostles has been handed down to the baptized through the centuries. The mission of each and every one of us is to make Jesus Christ known and loved, to bring the joy of the Gospel into the lives of those we encounter on our journey of faith. We are all that Jesus has in the world to bring others to him. Jesus is counting on us. The mission may seem daunting but as Jesus said so often, “Do not be afraid.” God does not call the equipped to carry out the mission. God equips those he calls.
I would like to share with you this reflection on this feast:
“Go, preach the Gospel to all nations.”
This was the farewell command of Christ.
He has no body now on earth but ours.
He has no hands but ours to raise up the fallen.
No feet but ours to seek out the lost.
No eyes but ours to see the silent tears of the suffering.
No ears but ours to listen to the lonely.
No tongue but ours to speak a word of comfort to the sad.
No heart but ours to love the unloved.
Lord, take pity on us, your timid and fearful disciples;
give us the courage to witness to you in the world,
and so the Gospel will be preached,
and people will find their way into your Kingdom."
– Fr. Dennis, May 13, 2018, Feast of the Ascension