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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

FEAST OF THE ASCENSION

ASCENSION OF THE LORD

This Sunday in Ireland we celebrate the feast of the Ascension. In those places where the ascension was celebrated last Thursday the 7th Sunday of Easter is being celebrated instead.

The words of the Gospel for this Ascension day strike me in a particular way as we have our parish mission going on at the moment. Jesus tells us ‘go therefore make disciples of all the nations and know that I am with you yes to the end of time. This Gospel reading is all about the past and the future but it is also about ourselves in the here and now of today, and what are we doing to make disciples of all the nations in 2015 or at the least make disciples of those around us perhaps our families and friends. In today’s gospel, Jesus has little to say, but he is definite about what he has to say when he speaks.

This is in sharp contrast to the fact that, even at this last minute, some of his disciples still doubted. The disciples did what he told them to do. He asked them to meet him on the mountain, and they did that. Like any gathering of people, their feelings were varied. Some of them worshipped him, while some of them still doubted. Jesus didn’t seem to have any great problem with that, because he knew that, when the Spirit came, all of those doubts would be ended. It would seem, indeed, that he was in a hurry to take his leave of them, so that the second part of his plan of salvation could get underway. The mission of the apostles was simple to understand; difficult to carry out. It was to teach others all that Jesus had taught them. Just as he asked his disciples to follow him, they were to ask that others should obey his directions and instructions which was so hard then and especially hard in the world of today.

The programme of redemption and salvation was to begin at Pentecost and continue from generation to generation, until the end of time.

So many things have changed in the Church and society. However the two things that have not changed are Jesus himself and every word of his message as they are ever old and always new for each generation. The message of Jesus is ignored by many people inside and outside the Church for their own reasons. The essential message of God and his messenger Jesus his Son have never changed up to now and I don’t think that they will ever change. Again and again we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to make disciples of all the nations realizing that Jesus and his message are always new for each generation. May we be heralds of the Ascension as we place the message of Jesus before others by the way we live our lives in the Joy of the Gospel.

While Christ now reigns with his Father, he still dwells in his Body, the Church. Through the Church, Christ acts in the world. Through the Church he announces the Kingdom of God. Let us remember that you and I each and every one of us are members of the Body of Christ the Church and as such are called to be heralds of Gospel Joy. The Church, imperfect as it is as the assembly of sinners, still dares to declare the Kingdom to the world at large. For the Church is made whole through the work of Christ’s Spirit as the Body of Christ  which enables us  to Go out to the whole world to proclaim the Good News.

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