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Friday, 19 May 2023 17:47

The Ascension - 2023

Ascension Sunday

Matthew 28:16-20

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestThere is a song titled, “The trouble with hello is goodbye.” We all know that saying goodbye is never easy because of all the physical and emotional attachments that we have, especially if we have a close friend. For Jesus, it must have been hard also to say farewell to his disciples. His disciples who had been inspired by him, and all his followers who clung to his words, must have felt it difficult as well to see him leave.

The gospel for today tells us of the final episode and the final words of Jesus before he ascended. Even though the gospel doesn’t’ say anything about his actual ascension, it was presumed that his ascension came immediately after these final words of Jesus.

Ascension TwitterLet’s try to focus on two sayings of Jesus. First, his commandment to all of us to make disciples of all nations. There was a big statue of Jesus in one of the churches. Unfortunately, there was a big earthquake and the statue tumbled from its pedestal. After the earthquake, the parish priest lifted the statue and it was in relatively good condition except for the hands that were completely smashed by the impact of the fall. The priest thought of replacing the hands with new ones but the priest had a better idea. He cleaned up the statue from the dust brought by the earthquake and put the statue back on its pedestal and did nothing to its hands and he placed a card at the bottom of the statue saying, “give me your hands”.

Jesus left his mission on earth in the hands of the eleven disciples and a few women. And yet, after two thousand years, one in every three persons on earth is a Christian. However, our mission is not yet finished by any stretch of the imagination. Jesus still needs our hands to continue his work. Especially in this part of the world where vocations to the priesthood and the religious life are so wanting, Jesus wants to continue to work and encourage young men and women into the priesthood and the religious life. And also, in this part of the world where many people have abandoned their faith, we must work to be a witness and make Jesus relevant to all people.

Second, is his promise to be with us until the end of time. Jesus is always present in our world. The beauty of his ascension is that Jesus may not be present to us physically, but his presence is all around us. Whenever, the priest greets us with, “The Lord be with you”, we all respond, “And with your spirit”. Or as the old response makes it more obvious, “And also with you”. The presence of Jesus is also most obvious in the consecrated bread and wine as the Body and Blood of Christ. So, it is pretty obvious that through the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ presence is definitely extended to all the world and this will last until the end of time as Jesus has promised.

So as we continue to reflect on this feast of the Ascension of Christ, let us be inspired about the task that Jesus asked us to continue and be assured that he is always with us until the end of time.