You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1: 8)
An end—and a beginning. Jesus leaves in a definitive way; the disciples understand that they are seeing him on earth for the last time. But they are not allowed to mourn or to stand around “looking up into heaven.” They are to begin a new phase of their discipleship; they are to begin the Church. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Go!
Sometimes you stand, like those disciples, looking up. You want to see Jesus; you want to be with him. Perhaps you long for consolations you have received in the past. Like Mary Magdalene, you want to cling to his feet. But always, you have to come back to earth again, where you have your present mission. You have been commanded to go, to be witnesses to the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Right now, you must love your neighbors and your enemies, stand up for justice, feed the hungry, reconcile the angry, comfort the bereaved, challenge sinners . . . spread the kingdom, in whatever form the power of the Holy Spirit takes in you. Go. Proclaim.
O God, whose Son today ascended to the heavens as the Apostles looked on, grant, we pray, that in accordance with his promise, we may be worthy for him to live with us always on earth, and we with him in heaven. (Collect of the Mass)
Sr. Paula Gero, CPPS