Happy Feast of the Ascension! Our remaining Mass time is 7:30 PM. Our gospel last Sunday hinted at the Christ’s ascension, this Sunday, in both the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke we have two accounts of the Ascension. The earthly mission and ministry of Jesus are now over and he is now returning to sit at the right hand of God. Jesus trusts his friends and followers to carry on his work of proclaiming and spreading the Kingdom of God.
In the first reading, they are told that will be Baptized with the Holy Spirit and in the gospel he tells them they are witnesses (to this) and that they will be clothed with power from on high. He knows that they will need help encouragement and strength for the task that lies ahead of them. This promise points and leads us directly to Pentecost which we celebrate next Sunday. Jesus knows that these men and woman will need all the help they can get as they spread the good news of his resurrection.
Today as the church, we too are called by Christ and sent out just as these first Christians were. We are asked to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and like them, we too are strengthened by the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul tells us in Romans 5.5, ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.’ We are Christ’s witnesses today in our homes with our families and with our neighbors in our parish community. We are called and challenged by Christ not only to hear the good news of the gospel, but to do whatever we can to share it with others we meet. We do this through the the quality of our daily lives in how we speak to each other and treat each other. As St. Francis of Assisi reminds us, ‘we must use every means possible to proclaim the gospel and if we have to, we will have to use words.’