The Ascension

This Sunday’s reading focuses on the Ascension of the Lord into heaven. One might think that this is the end of the story, much like seeing the end of the movie whereby the credits roll and you leave the cinema. On the contrary, the story hasn’t finished, in fact it marks the beginning of the Apostles’ mission that of Evangelization, which means the spreading of the Good News among all nations. In fact the Lord says: “Go therefore 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 that I have commanded you.”But Christ doesn’t stop there, in fact he says something which as a Catholic, living here and now, hit me like a thunderstruck. “And remember I am with you always, to the end of the age.” What is the importance of such a sentence? In fact, it plays a huge part when it comes to seeing Jesus, no just as a man who lived 2000 years ago but as a integral and at the heart of the Church’s mission. At the heart, not only in the Gospel, but also with his presence in the Church till the end of time. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, a key question stands out: “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom of Israel?” In order to understand this question, one must be aware of the fact that the Jews were waiting for the Messiah, so that he will lead them in their fight against the Romans. The Messiah they wanted was a fighter, a man of arms, a man of violence. In his response Christ showed us what kind of a Messiah he was:”It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the world.” Let us look closer at Christ’s response. He didn’t tell the apostles to be his fighters, his companions in destroying the Romans. On the contrary he told them to be witnesses. Witnesses not only among the Jews or the Samaritans (Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria) but to all nations and to all people. In the end Christ showed them that their duty was not to fight against a physical army be it Roman or otherwise but to fight against the devil’s army, which seeks to destroy Christ’s message of love and hope.

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