Written on: May 29, 2019
On a hillside outside Jerusalem, Jesus gathers his disciples together before he departs. Jesus’ followers had seen their master scorned, tortured, and crucified. Frightened, they hid, afraid of reprisals. They knew they had let him down, doubted him, even denied him. The women’s word of Resurrection still caused them fear. Yet, despite the fact that Jesus had engaged them in forty days of instruction, his close followers still had a mistaken view of him and his mission. A question arose from their lips as they listened to Jesus bid them goodbye,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6).
Jesus gently reminds them, “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 in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 6-8).
Even though the disciples were not completely ready, Jesus is unexpectedly lifted up and a cloud obscures their vision. Christ’s glory, usually hidden, is revealed as two men in white appear startling the disciples as they stare in disbelief at the heavens. The white-clad apparition said,
“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Jesus’ followers were suddenly overjoyed.
How can this be?
A joy-filled goodbye?
Their whole world had just changed. Something was undoubtedly beginning, not ending, for the past had just given way to the future. Their relationship with Jesus had been transformed. Light and goodness had triumphed. They “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52).
At his Ascension, Jesus gave the disciples a mission and promised to be with them through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We, too, share this mission. Jesus says to each of us –
“Women and men of the twenty-first century, ‘why do you stand looking up toward heaven? You are to be my witnesses in Pennsylvania, throughout New York, and Maryland, indeed to the ends of the earth. Peace be with you!”
Feature photo: Chuttersnap/Unsplash
Sr. Patricia Geary, GNSH, taught for fifty years, the last 22 years as a university professor of teacher education. Sister lives at Holy Redeemer Lafayette where she writes the monthly GNSH news notes entitled ‘Entre Nous.’ A proud Philly native and Little Flower High School graduate, Sr. ‘Patsy‘ just celebrated her Jubilee – sixty years as a GNSH! An avid reader, Sister is currently reading Paul, A Biography by N.T. Wright and The Second Mountain by David Brooks.