With us always...
Reflections on the readings for the Ascension of the Lord (May 21, 2020): ACTS 1:1-11; PS 47:2-3,6-7,8-9; EPH 1:17-23; MT 28:16-20
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
"Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations..."
On this Thursday, forty days after Easter, we joyfully observe the feast of our Lord’s Ascension to heaven. He gathered His disciples together, yet it’s clear that despite everything that happened after His Resurrection, their worship and fidelity is still touched with doubt. Jesus reassured them that He truly has Divine power and, in the instruction known as the Great Commission, commanded them to take up His ministry. “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, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). These final words of St. Matthew’s Gospel recall the first chapter when the angel of the Lord appears to St. Joseph in a dream telling him to take Mary as his wife and that her Son will have the name Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”
The Apostles must have been both elated and terrified when our Lord was taken up to heaven. They now knew that everything Jesus said and promised was true – He was the Son of God come to rescue the world from the destruction of sin and death. And He had chosen them to share this revelation with all nations. All nations – how that must have alarmed these men who probably never journeyed any further than they had with Christ. Now, the whole world was entrusted to their preaching of Christ’s message of hope and forgiveness and God’s gift of baptism. Only the pledge that He would never abandon them gave them the courage to look to the days ahead with confidence. While they could never succeed on their own, with Jesus, their Lord and their friend, all things were possible. And it’s the same for us today. He is with us. Always.