THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD (Year A). May 21, 2023. Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mt 28:16-20. “…You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth…”
Today’s Gospel tells us that, with his return to the Father, Jesus completes his mission on earth. But just before his Ascension, Jesus entrusted to the disciples the mission of preaching the Good News and evangelizing the whole world by bearing witness to him through their words and lives. Hence, Jesus' last words to his disciples point to the key mission and task he has entrusted to his followers on earth - to be his witnesses and ambassadors to the ends of the earth so that all peoples, tribes, and nations may hear the good news that Jesus Christ has come to set us free from sin, Satan, and death and has won for us a kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness that will last forever.
Life Message: How can we be effective witnesses/Ambassadors for Christ? Jesus told his disciples, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you - and you shall be my witnesses... to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Paul the Apostle reminds us that we are called to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ. Just as ambassadors are appointed to represent their country and to speak on behalf of their nation's ruler, we, too are appointed by the Lord Jesus to speak on his behalf and to bring others into a close and personal encounter with the Lord and Ruler of heaven and earth.
Conclusion: This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task - to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. Significantly, the Ascension is most closely related, in meaning, to Christmas. In Jesus, the human and the Divine become united in the Person and life of one man Who is also True God. That's Christmas. At the Ascension, this human being – the person and the resurrected living body of Jesus – became for all eternity a part of who God is. That is what the Ascension, along with the Incarnation, is here to tell us – that it is a good thing to be a human being; indeed, it is a wonderful and an important and a holy thing to be a human being. And it is, indeed, such an important thing that God did it!! And thankfully, we have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit, promising us that: “You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” And, assuredly, “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28-20).