From the Pastor's Desk
FEAST OF THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD
"I am with you always; yes, to the end of time." Today’s feast is a celebration of Jesus’ final glorification after his suffering, death and Resurrection – a glory in which we also hope to share.
The first reading gives an account of the event of the Ascension as recorded in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. First, Jesus instructed his apostles to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the baptism by the Holy Spirit so that they might become his "witnesses to the ends of the earth" by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then a cloud took Jesus from the sight of the disciples and two Heavenly messengers in white garments gave them the assurance of Jesus’ "second coming" or return in glory.
The Refrain for today's Responsorial Psalm (Ps 47) suggests that by his Ascension, the risen Lord "mounts his throne" in glory. In the second reading, Paul explains the theological meaning of Jesus’ exaltation, giving us the assurance that one day, we too will be ascending to Heavenly Glory, provided we fulfill the mission entrusted to us by the ascending Lord.
Today's Gospel describes how Jesus ascended to Heaven after giving his final blessing and missionary command to his disciples. The command was to proclaim the Good News to the whole creation," "to be his witnesses," and "to make disciples of all nations." (Mt 28:16-20, Mk 16:15-20, Lk 24:46-53, Acts 1:1-11).
1) We need to be proclaimers and evangelizers: To be a Christian is to be a proclaimer and an evangelizer. There is a difference between preaching and proclaiming. We preach with words, but we proclaim with our lives. Let us ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as we bear witness to Jesus by our transparent Christian lives.
2) We have a teaching mission: Jesus taught us lessons of Faith, Hope, Love, forgiveness, mercy and salvation by his life and preaching and gave us the mission to teach these to others. Hence, let us learn about Jesus and his teachings by our daily study of the Bible and the teachings of the Church, experience Jesus in personal prayer, reception of the Sacraments and works of charity, and convey to others Jesus whom we have experienced with the help of the Holy Spirit.
3) The ascended Jesus is our source of strength and encouragement: We will be able to overcome doubts about our Faith, as well as baseless fears, anxieties and worries, by meditating on Jesus’ Ascensionand the lesson it teaches -- that we, too, are called to share his glory in Heaven.