And he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today, Jesus “is taken” from his disciples. Does he, then, leave his disciples alone? On the cross, Jesus felt abandoned by God and his disciples, confused and afraid, experienced something of this abandonment, too. At Christ’s Ascension, however, the disciples now live by faith, pouring themselves out “with great joy” and in unceasing prayer. When Jesus ascends to the Father, he only becomes more intimately present to those who believe in him. They are now the members of his Body, the Church. He promises to pour out his Holy Spirit: he will clothe them “with power from on high.” The Lord, however, does not remain present as an insecure ruler would, hovering over his servants to micromanage their every decision. To those who live by faith, he hands himself over, entrusting them with the task of drawing all to share in the Holy Trinity’s life of believing, hoping love.
—Rob Van Alstyne, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits West Province who will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 8, 2019. After ordination, he will return to Regis College in Toronto to complete a ThM / STL degree in theology.
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 in glory,
the Body is called to follow in hope.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
—Collect from today’s MassPlease share the Good Word with your friends!