This is a turbulent year with everything going on in the world. Though the Church year remains the same. Next week we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost and today the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. And Jesus has a fierce lesson for us today. Namely, that we should be concerned with the task that he has given us and nothing else. He tells his disciples: "It is not up to you to know time or seasons". And what he says to his disciples he says to us. It is not up to us to know the time of his return. That is up to God the Father! Though many Christians seem that Jesus comes soon or even when Jesus comes back, Jesus says that it is not our “problem”. We don’t need to know. We only have one task: to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria and until the ends of the earth. In Mark’s Gospel Jesus says: “He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. We should not keep on staring unto heaven but continue with the great commission that Jesus give us. That is what we should worry about and what our lives should be focused on. That, and the great commandment of Love that Jesus gives us in the Gospel.
There will be trials our way, as St. Peter tells us but we have to keep on going forward and look unto heaven for our salvation. Not keep on staring for Jesus’s return but looking up for that is what our salvation comes from. We need to pray and to ask God to help and comfort us in our trials. We can be assured that Jesus prays for us as he prays for his disciples in the Gospel. He is not praying for the world but for his disciples and so for us. He does not pray for the world because the world back then was hostile to Jesus and his teachings, both the Jewish and Roman world. And as it was then it is often now. The world is hostile to Christians. There is often a different attitude to Christianity in an effort to silence the teachings of Jesus. But i have news for them...you have not the power to silence Jesus. Ultimately He has the last word.
Jesus wants us to be One as He and the Father are one. That is what we should strive for always. We as Christians should be one with each other, despite our differences. We should be a Shepherd to each other as Jesus is a Shepherd to us. Just before leaving them, he reminds them of what he expects of them. Earlier he had sent them out to spread the Kingdom of God. Those who go in his name, do so with his authority. In Matthew’s version he now adds this great promise, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mark says that the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it”. And Luke emphasizes that they will receive “power from on high”. The mission will be both easy and hard for the disciples. It was to teach others but they will receive rejection and persecution. They were called “followers of the way”. And as they were followers so they were called to inspire others to do so. a followers doesn’t mean giving lip service but to act and believe like Jesus and his disciples did. Maybe a hard task but He is with us always. It doesn’t mean we we always hear or see him. We just have to be open to His presence in our heart, and cherish it. Then we can experience the “Joy of the Gospel”. As we prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, let us ask us the Holy Spirit to come upon us and make us true “followers of the way” of Christ.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.
by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit
help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.