May 31, 2019

The Ascension of the Lord

Cycles of Faith
The Ascension of the Lord

What is the most common image you've seen of the Ascension? It's typically Jesus hovering above the earth surrounded by brilliant light.

The Ascension is a beautiful feast, but it's about more than the distant glory of God. It's about the blessing of God and the transformative power of trust.

"You are witnesses to these things." Before he ascends, Jesus reminds the disciples of the basic message of the Gospel and of the disciples' own important role. They are to proclaim the Gospel message by their personal witness to the saving power of God. "I am sending the promise of my Father upon you...clothed with power from on high." Jesus promises to equip the disciples for this important mission. Not only are they receiving a command, but they're receiving the empowerment they need to move. "He...raised his hands, and blessed them." Even now, though the fulfillment of Pentecost is still to come, Jesus gives them a parting gift before he ascends into heaven. Finally, "They...returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God."

The disciples faced an unknown future. Their teacher had left them, and the political and religious authorities weren't exactly thrilled about Jesus and his growing movement. But the memory of our Father's redemptive love, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the blessing of Christ sustained them. Jesus trusted them to act in his name. They could trust him in return. Do you face uncertainty in your own life? Remember, we are all called to be disciples and witnesses. We have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at our baptism. We are blessed by Christ beyond imagining in the sacraments. This Ascension feast, we too can trust in God! With this firm trust, we too can return to our daily lives, praising God with great joy!

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