The Ascension of the Lord
I remember as a child in Catholic School hearing the story of the Ascension and feeling a sense of emptiness for the disciples as Jesus was taken up to heaven. They had been with him three years; he was their teacher and guide.
I remember as a child in Catholic School hearing the story of the Ascension and feeling a sense of emptiness for the disciples as Jesus was taken up to heaven. They had been with him three years; he was their teacher and guide. He gave them the ability to preach, heal, forgive and inspire; now he was no longer living with them. They watched him disappear physically from their sight.
It is an experience we can relate to because we have all watched friends and family, those who have been a part of our daily life, move away. Promises are made that we will communicate often, and even though we do, it’s not the same. It leaves us empty. Life has changed, now what?
At first when Jesus ascends, the disciples stand there frozen, worshiping at the spot where he ascended. What is interesting in Luke's Gospel is that, the disciples, after worshiping, returned to Jerusalem with great joy! What happened in that moment of worship? Did the Holy Spirit inspire them to see and believe? Did it dawn on them that life would not change, and they had a mission to accomplish?
As we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus, we see that it calls us to be excited about witnessing. Jesus said, “You are witnesses to these things.” We are called to be witnesses of our faith. God has touched us in so many ways. Do we live our lives with the excitement of the disciples? If we have been touched by God, how do we in turn touch others?
Ascension means pushing us into new ways and new directions. Remember, the disciples were changed after the Ascension. They were excited in new ways. Jesus taught them, and now they had the opportunity to put it into practice. Jesus has come to us in prayer, Scripture and Eucharist. Are we, too, excited to go forth and witness? We are not alone. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide us. Let’s be excited about our faith, let us witness by example. It is our Christian call.
Rev. Jeff Finley, C.PP.S. (Atlantic)