May 21, 2020 (Ascension of the Lord)
Day 6 of Laudato Si week, global warming affects people differently and the poorest of the poor suffer even more. Be kind to the poor ones around you beginning from those who serve you at home.
Dear friends in Christ, forty days after Jesus rose from the dead, he ascended to heaven, in the presence of his disciples. Today we commemorate that event which marks the final day of his presence with the disciples before the ascension. On this day therefore as we celebrate the ascension of the Lord, it is an invitation to rise beyond our earthly ambitions and desires to the level of those who are loved and who love God.
In today's first reading (Acts 1:1-11), Luke introduces his second work as addressed to 'THEOPHILUS' a name which means, "Lover of God.” If this is a title of an official, it must be that the person enjoys a certain level of relationship with God. If this is however Luke's invite to all his readers, to regard the message as their own, it brings us all into the realm of the blessed recipients of his message. The Apostles were still very much concerned about the affairs of their homeland. They asked Jesus, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" Their concern was earthly and material. Jesus however told them to focus more on the spiritual, "It is not for you to know times and seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." Just as he said that he ascended in their presence. The preface of today's Mass tells us that, "He ascended, not to distance himself from our lowly state but that we, his members, might be confident of following where he, our head and founder, has gone before." This is made possible because he has, conquered sin and death in his body. While Angels sang at his birth, there were also angels at his ascension. The psalmist had foretold it, “God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast. Sing praise for God, sing praise, sing praise to our king, sing praise.”
The second reading (Ephesians 1:17-23) is a prayer and a hymn of praise to God, that he may “give to his people a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to the full knowledge of him.” He tells us that the power of God at work in Christ is responsible for his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God “above every sovereignty, authority, power, domination…”
The Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20) is the commissioning of the Apostles. Jesus told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” This mission will include bringing people into the fold through the sacrament of baptism, it will also require that they pass on the faith as they have been instructed by Jesus himself. If anyone was still in doubt among them about how to accomplish the mission, Jesus promised them, “Know that I will be with you always; yes to the end of time.”
Let us pray: Grant to us O God who believe that we may so live in imitation of Christ and so come to our heavenly reward. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.