Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts1,1-11; Resp. Psalm: Ps47,2-3,6-9; 2nd Reading: Eph4,1-13; Gosp. Accl.: Mt28,19-20; Gospel: Mk16,15-20
The disciples were still concerned about the restoration of the earthly kingdom and the accompanying political structures. The disciples are like us especially at moments in life when we abandon the important and essential things of life for the unimportant.
Our Lord told them that the times and seasons appointed for the restoration of the kingdom are not important. This is because the Father in His inscrutable wisdom had fixed those and it was foolhardy to be bothered about what was really not their responsibility. What is important is to continue the work of the Master, the work of making the gospel of peace known, till the second coming of the Master in glory.
What they should be concerned about what their preparation to receive the Holy Spirit who would come upon them with power from on high. What they should be bothered about was the quality of witnessing they were going to give to the Master in Jerusalem, Judea and to the ends of the earth. They would not depart from the earth to heaven immediately. They would have to complete the work given to them by the Lord.
At the scene of the Ascension of the Lord into heaven, the disciples Saw Him ascending and naturally gazed into heaven as He went. But two men in white, ostensibly angels, brought them back to earth and the responsibility they had to perform from now on. They told the disciples that there was no need to keep gazing into heaven since the Lord Jesus would come back just the same way they saw Him ascending into heaven.
What was required of them was to walk in the manner worthy of their calling. What was important was the kind of life they were to live from that time onwards. What was important was the life of virtues they were called to live and their abilities to put these virtues on display for all to see. They were to cultivate the virtues of meekness, patience, forbearance, maintain the unity of the Christian community.
As believers, they were to make special use of the gifts God had given them for the good of evangelization and winning souls to Christ. They were to utilize their talents and lives for the good of the gospel of peace. This was also the charge the Lord gave to His apostles in today's gospel passage. He commanded them to go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Our Lord told them that those who believe and are baptized would be saved. He also gave them power to authenticate their teaching and preaching by the display of authentic signs from heaven: casting out demons, speaking new tongues, picking up serpents and drinking deadly poison without being hurt, laying their hands on the sick who would recover as a result of their prayer of faith.
On this important commemoration of the solemnity of Ascension of our Lord, our faith is strengthened since we know that the Lord had gone to heaven to prepare a place for us, to intercede and plead our cause before the Father. Our faith is emboldened because we know that life here on earth is not the end: it is a transition to the greater glory of heaven.
The solemnity of the Ascension is a wake up call to all believers, that the work had been given. It is a challenge to think and reflect on what contributions we are making to the work He entrusted to all His disciples. He commanded that they go into the whole world, preach and make disciples. How engaged are we doing that in our everyday lives? How concerned are we for the work of the gospel? How involved are we?
Let us pray: "Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and where the Head has gone before us in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.