The Ascension of The Lord
After Jesus’ ascension what are we to do? Do we sit around and wait for something to happen or do we go and do something? Sitting around and waiting for something to happen is the mistaken view of some disciples in Luke’s account of the ascension which we heard in the first reading and of some Christians today. Jesus said we are not to sit around and wait, we are to do something, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
In the Gospel Jesus was even more specific when talking to the Apostles. Before Jesus ascended, he entrusted his mission to the Apostles saying, “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matt 28:19) While that mission was entrusted to the Apostles, and to the bishops who are the successors of the Apostles, and their assistants, the priests, you can assist them in their mission to evangelize by praying for them and by giving witness that you follow Christ, especially in those situations where you are the one to witness to Christ. Is Christ relying on you to witness to him where no one else will?
Anticipating the Feast of Pentecost, we pray for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
I conclude with part of the prayer in the second reading today,
May God our Father…enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. (Eph 1:17-19)