At that time when Jesus was standing in front of them before ascending into Heaven, the disciples were having a difficult time. They were feeling lost and confused and in fact still felt very disorganized. But here is Jesus before them and exhorting them to move forward.
Many times in our lives we feel the same way: we feel tired and exhausted. But the loving presence of the Lord inspires us to move on, sending us His beautiful Word through the “angels” or “messengers” whom God sends us. These past weeks owing to several challenges I felt much closer to the Lord as the words in the Daily Scriptures seem to be meant for me. Though I felt anxious at times, the Word has strengthened me all the more, trusting His assurances that He is present in these moments.
We must be aware and grateful to God for making us feel His loving presence. The Ascension tells us all a beautiful instruction that it is also meant for us, as followers of Jesus Christ,
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mk. 16: 15)
More than 2,000 years later, there are still many parts of the world where the love of Jesus has not yet been felt. Or even nearby, around us for that matter. Today’s Solemnity celebrates our belief in the presence of Christ in the universe and with it the demand that we then become the instruments by which His loving presence is made real. This presence requires us to proclaim Him to others. This is made felt by everyone whom we encounter in the way we live, the way we love and the way we deal with them.
This loving relationship with the Lord is part of the mystery of the Ascension: that His loving presence with us and our witness to Him cannot be separated.
As we move on with our lives with all the challenges we face every day, we are assured of Jesus’ loving presence that will strengthen and enable us to hold on until the day we’re ourselves lifted up into Heaven. His Ascension opened up a door to Eternity for all of us, a door that remains open today. He wants us to follow Him. We won’t be able to do that though without that awareness of Christ beautiful presence in our lives. This beautiful reality is made manifest to others,
When we do,
when we love
when we think
when we care, as the Lord did.
The insight of the Solemnity of the Ascension then seems to be more about the Apostles (and about us) going out than Jesus going up! As Jesus goes to his Father, we are called to be witnesses to Him, sharing what we have experienced, received and heard.
Our prayer life which more importantly includes the Holy Mass, our regular reading of the Sacred Scriptures and the service we share with others, are what feeds us in this life journey. This is what we received and give to the ascended Lord every time we obey Him. As we follow Him till the end, we share in His Divinity as He is in our humanity. This Sunday, Jesus proves to us that far from being taken into Heaven, the Ascension is the continuation of His loving presence in our lives.
May we take on this challenge of making His care and presence known to others by the love we share.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, says the Lord; behold I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt. 28: 19a, 20b)