Gospel Reflection for Sunday 24th of May 2020 The Ascension of our Lord
You are my witnesses
Today, in union with the world wide church, we celebrate the Ascension of Lord. We took part in the drama of Holy Week and shared in the Resurrection. Now, today, we are witnesses to the earthly and physical presence of Jesus as it comes to an end.
While it is the end of Jesus’ public ministry and mission, it is only the beginning for his followers as they are now charged and commissioned with the work of proclaiming the Good News and building God’s Kingdom. Jesus now gives them the responsibility of carrying on his work.
Through these men and women the Good News about Jesus will spread far and wide. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus says to them, ‘When the Holy Spirit comes on you, then you will be my witnesses, not only in Jerusalem but throughout the whole of Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to then ends of the earth.’
What is a witness? A witness is someone is who sees, hears and experiences something and then has the courage to share with it others. For those who knew Jesus personally, it was not enough that they had immediate and first hand experience of his life, death and resurrection.
They are now be called and challenged to do one more thing; to carry on the mission of Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit – the power from on high. The mission and responsibility that Jesus gave his followers in the gospel, he also gives to you and me today and every day.
We are the ones now who are called to be the vocal and visible witnesses of Jesus in our world. We are called and challenged to be the face and voice of Jesus in our world that cries out for hope, peace, equality and justice. The Ascension of Jesus is not the end of things, on the contrary, it is just the beginning.
We all know how challenging, difficult and at times, painful these last few months have been locally, nationally and globally for all of us. Each of us has been stretched and tested in ways we never thought possible. We went above and beyond ourselves as we did our very best to care for others around us. We think of the many medical staff in hospitals and nursing homes who lovingly cared for the most vulnerable in our society at this time.
Through their healing work they and so many others are witnesses to the message of Jesus, love each other as I love you. We think of families, perhaps with elderly parents or sick children who are doing all they can to nourish, nurture and support each other at this difficult time. They are witnesses to the presence of and power of Jesus in our families and communities this very day.
We might ask ourselves, who am I to be a witness to Jesus? Who am I to carry on the mission and ministry of Jesus? Here’s an idea, ask those questions another way; who am I not to be a witness to Jesus? Who am I not to carry on the mission of Jesus?
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit with which we were anointed at our baptism and confirmation, you and I are called to be living and radical disciples of Jesus today, here and now. Jesus says to each of us; ‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you. Through us the mission of Jesus continues.
Jesus is calling you and I to be his witnesses just as he called his first disciples. He is sending you and I out to live and proclaim the gospel through the quality of our daily lives, just as he sent out his first disciples. When we Jesus calls us by our name to be his witness, what is our response to this invitation?
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
Before he leaves this world, Jesus promises his disciples that he will be with them always
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
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