Jesus returns to the Father – and gives us a mission
Reflections on the readings for the Ascension (May 13, 2021): ACTS 1:1-11; PS 47:2-3,6-7,8-9; EPH 1:17-23; MK 16:15-20
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
"So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs." (Mark 16:19-20)
Today we venerate the ascent of Jesus Christ from earth to heaven 40 days after Easter. The various New Testament accounts show us that our Savior was in the company of His followers when He left His life among them to return to His Father. He also reminded them of their mission to share the message of His gift of redemption with all people. “Jesus said to His disciples: ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.’… So then the Lord Jesus…was taken up into heaven.… But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs” (Mark 16:15, 19-20). Christ had prepared His Apostles and all who had faith in Him for the task of sharing the Good News that was now entrusted to them. Some would go out to the larger world in order to carry His compassion to people of many cultures, beliefs, and languages. Others would stay closer to home, but continue to build up the expanding community of Christians.
Jesus wanted all of His followers to grasp how important it would be to spread the Good News. In those earliest days and decades, they relied on their personal knowledge of our Lord, including His words and deeds, His miracles and mercy. But the heart of their teaching was the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and His Resurrection from the dead. People needed to embrace the profound love that brought the Son of God to live among men and women and then impelled Him to offer up His life for every single person. Then and now, people are called to appreciate the ongoing story of God’s love that is both true and eternal. The immensity of the divine gift of salvation has continued to capture the hearts, minds, and spirits of people of each generation. It was the work of the Church through a handful of believers who went from Jerusalem to Rome and started a long line of missionaries who would travel the world in search of souls for Christ our Savior and King.