Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
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.
Making our faith alive and operational
The Ascension of Jesus into heaven marks the end of his earthly ministry and the beginning of the mission he handed down to his disciples: to preach the Gospel. In today’s Gospel, the disciples are commissioned to preach the Gospel to all creation.
The Gospel highlights the importance of having faith and of being baptized. What does this mean? The Gospel tends to use the terms “believing” and “being baptized” inseparably. Why? This is because it could happen that a baptized person may remain unbelieving. We can take Ascension Sunday as an occasion to make the faith we profess, as baptized persons, alive and operational. But how? Fostering communion among us and the rest of creation could be the first step in bridging the gap between our faith as professed and our faith as lived. Today we also celebrate World Communications Day.
In his message for the 53rd World Communications Day in 2019, Pope Francis highlights our need of one another. Being created in the image and likeness of the God of communion who never ceases in his loving act of self-communication, we are called to manifest communion which marks our identity as believers. By virtue of our baptism, we become members of God’s family. And by being members of God’s divine family, we also share in the common responsibility of making our faith alive and operational.
As followers of Jesus, we are sent into all the world to proclaim the good news to all creation. Putting this mission mandate in our Philippine context, we may ponder more on our sense of community and on our relationship with the environment. It is good to reflect deeply on our sense of community and our care of our common home most particularly now when we are celebrating the 500 years of Christianity in the country.
The Acts of the Apostles tells how the disciples were looking intently at the sky when suddenly two men dressed in white garments told them that the Lord Jesus, who ascended into heaven, would return. The disciples then returned to Jerusalem where their mission to preach the Gospel began. As Christians, rather than looking at the sky while waiting for the return of the Lord, we should carry out Jesus’ mission mandate by making the faith we profess truly alive and operational by growing in our sense of community and in our care for our common home.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” 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.