The Ascension of the Lord.
Acts tells us that the loss of Jesus was not an occasion of grief, rather it was an event of blessing. Acts tells us that, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus remains. Further, the Ascension tells us that while we still feel human pangs of loss, not all is lost.
Acts is the story of Jesus still alive in the world through the work of the Holy Spirit within the Church. This is Pope Francis’s message in his apostolic exhortation “joy of the Gospel.” Christ lives among us! If we come to experience this, our joy cannot be contained, and we must spread the joy.
Matthew’s Gospel gives us what we call the “great commission” which is nothing more or nothing less than spreading the joy of the Gospel. We are to make disciples of all the nations. We don’t have to be left in loss, staring up at the sky. We know with certainty that the early Christian definitely believed that Jesus intended for them to spread the message, and they understood fully that it is in the Church that the Good News of Jesus and the mission of Jesus are spread.
Soon we will celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the Church. As we prepare ourselves for Pentecost , we might well ask what diverts our attention away from the joy that the Risen Christ offers. What keeps us from being joyful? What keeps us from feeling compelled to share our joy?
Does our lifestyle distract us? Are we caught up in the pursuit of what Charles Dickens calls “the Master Passion:Gain”----what we call wealth? Sometimes we disguise the pursuit. Investment firms urge us to pursue “security” for our retirement.
Do our jobs distract us? Are we spending enough time with our spouse and children? Is God in our lives? Do our regrets distract us from sharing joy with friends? Are we worried about what they might think if we talk about God in our lives? Are we so trapped in our past that there is no room for joy in the present?
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