SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – YEAR A
Most artistic pictures of Ascension are not based on the Gospels. In fact the Gospels emphasise that The Risen Christ remains here on earth with us. I must note that, in Acts, Luke paints a very different picture. “He was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” (Acts 1: 9) John makes it quite clear that this event is about The Risen Christ active in our lives when he adds, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.” (Jn 20: 30) The Risen Christ is active in our lives today. We will read the text for this Sunday. I have marked some words that are very important.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Mt 28: 16-20)
It was in Galilee that Jesus commenced his mission, (Mt 4: 12) and it is fitting that he passes this mission on to us in Galilee. On the mountain, he was transfigured and spoke with Moses and Elijah (Mt 17: 1) and it is from the mountain that we are assured of his support as we are sent out.
Twice we are told to “go” to all nations. Jesus makes it clear that everybody will be included in our ministry. In John’s Gospel we read, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.” (Jn 20: 30) These are the wonders that Christ Risen will do in our lives and the lives of those we will come in contact with. How often we hear people say, “The programme you presented changed my life!” We are called to make Christ present in the world.
Luke concludes his Gospel with, “They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.” (Lk 24: 52) May we continue to bring Joy to the World (Lk 2: 10) and be faithful to this calling.
Take this advice of Jesus to heart.
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Mt 8:26)
We celebrate the Risen Christ present among us.