Ascension of the Lord (May 25/28, 2017)
Today we celebrate the conclusion of Jesus’ mission from his Father. We see Jesus stand before his chosen eleven as the Christ, Lord of the universe. With full authority for the salvation of the world, Jesus sends the Eleven forth to make disciples of all the nations. They are to baptize in the name of the Trinity, and teach all they have been commanded by Jesus.
Then Jesus returns to his Father, leaving the earth in his bodily form. His leaving emphasizes the importance that faith will play in their mission. They are to put their trust in the Spirit he will leave with them, and they are to act on all they have been taught to believe. They will have doubts and fears as they go, so they are to remember his final words to them: “I am with you always.” Jesus’ abiding presence with them through the Spirit will give them strength and courage when they need it to continue their efforts.
Over the past few weeks, you and I have been renewed in our faith by our celebration of Jesus’ death and rising. Today, as we celebrate his return to his Father, Jesus speaks to us, his disciples in 2002, with the full authority of the Christ: I send you forth to make new disciples. Announce the truth of what I have taught you by living it every day. When you feel the insecurities of the journey, recall my promise to you: “I am with you always.” My Spirit will provide the strength you need to continue on.
As we carry out our mission each day, we are not to waste time trying to judge our success or failure. Jesus asks us to place our faith in him and give the best effort we can each day. St. Francis de Sales reminds us to begin each day anew, trying to be faithful today to letting Jesus live in us and love through us.
As we celebrate Jesus’ return to his Father, let us renew our faith in all that Jesus has taught us. With confidence, let us set about living today with grace and enthusiasm. Remember: Jesus is with us always!
May Jesus draw others to himself by the way we live.