“… He withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven….”
Gospel: Luke 24: 46-53
46 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, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 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.” 50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
Reminding the disciples of previous prophetic predictions, Jesus quotes the scriptures saying that the Christ will suffer and then rise from the dead. Letting them know that he is about to leave them, Jesus instructs the Apostles to continue the ministry which he began. They are to remain in Jerusalem until they are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. After delivering these instructions, Jesus raises his hands as in victory and ascends to Heaven. The disciples are filled with joy as they return from Bethany to Jerusalem.
Relating the Gospel to our lives today.
Jesus was finally leaving the disciples for the last time. And so dawns the final era of mankind – the era of the Church. Christ is of course the head and we (the Church) are His body. The present time is a time of the Spirit and of witness. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we are to witness to the redemptive death and glorious resurrection of Christ to those around us, until He comes again in Glory.
It is strange to think that we are living in the final era of Mankind. The era of the Church has been put in place by Christ Himself. He is with us at all times through the Holy Spirit and of course He is with us physically through the Eucharist. He wants to work in us and through us to reach others. To think that Christ wants to use me is a humbling thought. It is easy to think that we are too small to be of any importance whatsoever – but this is not true. Most of us are not asked to change the whole world like Blessed Pope John-Paul II or Francis of Assisi, but instead we are to concentrate on those closest to us and carry out the Lords final commandment – “Love one another as I have loved you.” He does not expect us to do this alone or even on our own merits. No, He has given us a helper – the Holy Spirit. And He has given us a community – the Church. It is through the Church that we are able to draw the strength and wisdom to proclaim the Good News until the end of this era when Christ will return for the last time.
- We are living in the final era of mankind – the era of the Church.
- The present time is a time of the Spirit and of witness.
- At the end of this era, Christ will return for the last time.
Help me to understand the importance of your Church here on earth. Help me to cherish and pray for the Priests who represent you. May I always call on the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide me.
Thank You Jesus, I Love You, Amen.