“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Today we celebrate the great mystery of the Ascension when Christ ascended to the Father in heaven, entrusting the disciples to continue his work. These last verses from the Gospel of Matthew constitute “The Great Commission.” The disciples are commissioned by Jesus to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
While we can see the fruits of the apostles throughout time by the fact that the Church is still producing disciples responding to Christ’s call, we’re also called to partake in that mission today. Jesus, in his great love for us, has invited us into his work of bringing people to him and making his body, the Church, more full and united through all space and time.
We’re also told the disciples doubted Christ. Why? Perhaps they thought that after seeing Jesus’ divinity that he would bring political power back to Israel rather than leave the eleven to proclaim the Gospel instead. After 40 days on earth in his resurrected body, Jesus responds by saying, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.”
Although we may expect a particular answer from Christ when we pray to him, his plan and answer for us is all-encompassing – bigger, better, and beyond anything we could ever imagine. His response begins in his call to be witnesses of him and his works. Therefore, let us live in his joy and strive to leave all our worries and anxieties behind us. After all, all power in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ. What have we to fear?
By entrusting our cares to the Lord, we are able to grow in peace and joy, reflecting Christ’s light to all and being his salt on this earth. We will be emboldened to live out this call with the fire of the Spirit.
As we await the coming of the Advocate at Pentecost, let us pray:
Come Holy Spirit!