HOMILY FOR SUNDAY ASCENSION OF THE LORD
Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mark 16:15-20
THE COMMISSION TO THE WORLD AS WE CELEBRATE THE ASCENSION
We celebrate today, in the Easter season, the ascension of the Lord to heaven. A master leaves his disciples and followers for the second time in less than 50 days. After their brief joy at seeing the risen Lord, the disciples are again dejected that he ascends to heaven. As evidenced in the first reading, they all look up as Jesus is taken into the crowds. This was not a look of amusement or amazement, rather it was a frustrated look and gaze. Why does he leave us for the second time in a short period?
Our readings today, especially the gospel give us the justification for his departure. Apart from promises of his second coming and the coming of the Spirit, his departure is a commissioning of the all believers to go into the world and proclaim the good news.
Thus, in the first reading, Luke gives an account of Jesus’ command to the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes down on them. The Spirit was to be the strength, courage and life of the apostles as they bear witness to Christ. He leaves the followers to bear witness to the whole world.
The gospel account of the ascension begins with his command to go to the whole world and make disciples in his name. He goes on to say what these followers will be able to do in his name. All what they will be able to do in his absence is a sign that his ascension is a commissioning into the world.
We are to go in the world and preach his salvation just as Luke explains to Theophilus in the first reading.
The second reading gives to us an idea that we will be able to witness to Christ once we receive the Holy Spirit. This Spirit is what we expect to receive this coming Sunday.
Let us pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit to be our strength and courage, so that we are able to bear witness to Christ in obedience to his command at his ascension.
Have a blessed Sunday.