Jesus said to his disciples: “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.
Absence and presence
In Jesus’ ascent into heaven, we are reminded of our “dual citizenship.” We are citizens not only of this world but also of heaven (our true home). Where the risen Jesus has gone, we hope to follow.
Every ending leads to a new beginning. Jesus’ life on earth closes, but his glorious life opens in heaven. Luke concludes his Gospel narrative with Jesus’ final instructions to his apostles: “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (vv 46-47).
Luke takes up the story again in his second book, the Acts of the Apostles. The First Reading describes the opening of a new chapter for the new people of God known as Christians. Luke recalls the death and resurrection of Jesus, how he appeared to his disciples on several occasions and how he promised to them the coming of the Holy Spirit and his presence with them to the end of time.
It is not easy to understand the “new presence” of Jesus. How can Jesus be up in heaven and at the same time be also in our midst? In this, we can only pray with the Apostle Paul that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call (cf Eph 1:17-18).
Besides eternal happiness, we hope that Jesus’ work will continue and flourish in his Church for all time. And we pray that we will fulfill the responsibility entrusted to us to carry on Christ’s mission of salvation and build God’s Kingdom in all sectors of society—home, school, workplace, Church, and government.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.