Acts 1-11 Eph 1: 17-23, Mt 28: 16-20
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our first reading today tells us that these forty days after Easter were a time of preparation. Jesus was getting his Catholic Church ready for her mission — to go out into the whole world and proclaim the Kingdom of God.
We know the apostles were scared and they must have felt ashamed because they had all abandoned Jesus on the night he was betrayed. So, Jesus needed to reassure them. He needed to teach them why it all had to happen. We know that he interpreted the Scriptures for them, so they could understand why it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and die. We know also that he needed to prove to them that he was really alive! So that’s what he was doing for these past forty days. Then, on the day of the Ascension, he led them all out to the Mount of Olives.
But the Ascension does not mean a farewell. This is the mystery of the Church! With his Ascension, the earthly mission of Jesus ends. That’s true. But the mission of his Spirit and his Church begins. His Ascension is our mission.
Jesus is alive — in our hearts through Baptism and through the graces we receive in every Eucharist. He is present in every event in our lives. We can turn to him for guidance. He is always there to give us the strength we need to follow him and to do his will.
My brothers and sisters, in our readings today we hear Jesus’ last earthly words: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. These words are very important. Because he is talking to each one of us. We all have to live the Ascension! We all have to live like those first apostles did. By following Jesus’ teachings and example. By living his life of joy and love and peace! By always looking for ways to share our faith in the Resurrection with others!
Each of us is called into the ministry of Jesus in some way. We are called to be ‘other Christs’, to be people who wish to make known and spread the love of God and his care for his people in the world. We may never know how much we have done this; it is sufficient that we do what we can. God has some work to do that can be done only through each person. In a time of prayer, we ask that we use our gifts and talents as best we can in God’s service.
So, our mission remains the same as it was for the first Christians. It is firstly allowing God’s grace to purify our way of living so that we will be true disciples of Jesus in every aspect of our thinking and living.
Secondly, it is to take our Catholic heritage seriously. We must be committed to the Catholic vision and have a truly welcoming, open and all-embracing heart, yearning to play our part in carrying on the mission of Jesus.
St. Mary’s and St. Aloysius are a place where the faith has been and is currently taught and lived; where gospel values are proclaimed and put into practice. At the center of these parish communities are the invisible presence of Christ who is alive and active in the lives of his people.
I would like to conclude with the words of Pope Francis who says that the parish is where we are touched and embraced by the loving mercy of God, where everyone belongs, and where no person is excluded or is beyond hope. Amen!
Peace and all good!
Fr. Valery Burusu