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As we mark and celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, the saying, ‘all good things come to an end’ never sounded more suitable or appropriate.
Just before the passion and suffering of Jesus, his friends and followers saw him being betrayed, denied and condemned. They stood at a distance and watched him die a very public and humiliating death. Some of them even deserted him. When they were told by some of the others that they had seen the Lord, they refused to believe them; they doubted. In fact, most of them doubted.
Eventually after seeing the risen Lord for them themselves several times, they believed that he had indeed risen from the dead. And now Jesus is preparing them for his departure and his return to heaven. They thought they had lost Jesus once when he died, now they have to face the reality of life without him again. Jesus is leaving them, but he is not leaving them alone. He is not deserting or abandoning them. In fact, he is going to be with them in a very personal and intimate way for ever.
Before Jesus takes his leave of them, he passes on and entrusts them with the responsibility of carrying on his mission of proclaiming the good news of the gospel and of establishing the kingdom of God. This ordinary group of men and women are the ones who were chosen by Jesus to be the heralds and witnesses of the resurrection. Through their words and actions, the world would know that Jesus was alive and more alive and present than ever he was. As Jesus’ earthly life and ministry ends, theirs and our mission and ministry begin.
Today the responsibility building the God’s kingdom now belongs to us. The first friends and followers of Jesus are our ancestors and we are they are their descendants. It is now up to each of us in our own way to carry on the mission and ministry of Jesus. Through us today, the world will know that Jesus is alive, present and active in our world. As Pope Francis says to each of us, every Christian is a missionary disciple to the extent that they have experienced the love of god in Jesus.
Even though we are celebrating the Ascension of Jesus, he has not left, deserted or abandoned us. He is with is when we gather to hear the scriptures being proclaimed. He is with us when we celebrate his presence through his Body and Blood. He is with us when we reach out to help and support each other. He is with us when we live our daily lives as his disciples.
These are the signs that Jesus is in us and with us; today and forever.
Michael Moore OMI