We celebrate the return of Jesus to the Father in this great Feast of Ascension. Jesus completes the work here he was sent to do and He hands it on to His disciples. Jesus’ Ascension is not His removing Himself from us, but rather a completion of a promise. So often we miss understand this great moment. St. Luke has told us in his first Book, namely his Gospel of the life of Jesus, what he did and said. Today we see the Acts of the Apostles and a telling of what the mystical body of Jesus does namely the Church. We give witness to the Kingdom of God present in our midst, God comes to us and Jesus has promised to be with us always. Matthew 28:19&20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In celebrating the Ascension we see God fulfilling His Promise remaining with us, and promising to send us the Holy Spirit. What is required here is a joyful resignation to the power of God and His will and ability in and over our lives. Jesus in today’s Gospel Luke 24 “repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem”
What we find in the Ascension in Jesus promising to send us the Holy Spirit, there is also a mandate, namely something that we need to do. Through the out pouring of the Spirit, we are called and empowered to continue to work of our Lord Jesus in proclaiming the joy of the Gospel and being instruments of healing and God’s grace in peoples lives.
Just as out of love for the world God sent us His son, so to it is out of love for the church and the disciples of Christ that the Holy Spirit is promised and sent to the church to be instruments of God’s love in the world. Not only the disciples James, John and Peter, but you and I are also disciples, apostles called to be sent, to go forth and be about the work of the kingdom of God, the call to each of us. So just as Jesus sends his followers to share the good news and the bring healing, he empowers us the followers of Jesus today, to go forth and do the work of the Kingdom, namely to share and extend God’s love and power to a world that is in need of transformation to be made whole.
How do we respond and take the promise made and fulfilled both Jesus’ returning yet sending and ever present with His church. Jesus in sending the Holy Spirit leads and guides us. We participate in this promise by seeking to transform the world we live in . This week from walking the neighborhood and call for the Safety and well being of our Sons, to sharing bread with the hungry, giving assistance to those in need. In all these ways we are directly impacting a world that so greatly needs to know that God’s love and grace is available to all of us no matter our situation or circumstance. Let’s allow God’s Promise to show forth through our lives as we seek to impact the lives of those we encounter.