With today being Ascension Thursday I couldn’t stop thinking what it was like for everyone to see Jesus leave them a second time. It had to be a mix of feelings and not understanding the whole picture of what was ahead for them. We are blessed to know how it all played out and what happened. Yet for those that were by Jesus side had no idea what was to come and if He was really gone from their world.
Think how it was for them. They all see that Jesus is brutally beaten, nailed to a cross, died, was buried and on the third day He rose from the dead and revealed Himself to others. Then spends the coming weeks with them and reminds them that He must return to the Father so the Advocate will come. It had to be a roller coaster of emotions for them all. They lose Jesus, He returns and they lose Jesus again. I must think they had many questions like : “ Will Jesus be back again?” , “ When will the Advocate come?” ,“Who or what is the Advocate?”. Then I would think they were also in some way rejoicing in the faith that Jesus bestowed upon them. That faith that would get them through everything that was to come. All the preaching, persecutions, and travels.
They were blessed to be with Jesus yet, those blessings came from struggles and pain as well as joys. We are blessed to know the events and that Jesus never left them as He will not leave any of us. We get the blessings of many many centuries of hindsight where for them it was foresight that was driven by their love and faith of and in Jesus. It is in that hindsight that we can gain strength when we feel doubt settling in our lives. Think about all those who saw and did not believe and those who did not see who believed. Those who have continued to be Jesus on earth. Those who continue to bring the faith to those so they too may come to believe and see. Those who sacrifice a life so to bring the bread of life, the Eucharist, to the masses. Those who walk in the light. Those who have kept that apostolic message to new generations.
As I typed those last few lines, I can not help but to be in awe of my faith. That continuing mission from Jesus saying to them:
“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. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:19-20
That mission started with the decree from Jesus before He ascended to the Father and has continued on for almost 2000 years. Stop for a moment and think about that, 2000 years of baptizing and teaching all that Jesus has commanded. This really has stopped me in the middle of writing this and for me has me taking a deep breath, sitting back and taking in all of these past 2000 years of our Faith. It is a blessing and awe inspiring and something that I feel we all need to reflect on.
May God bless you all on this Holy Day where Jesus returned to our Father and commissioned those who brought our Catholic Faith to those who for generations have brought the faith to the next and for us now to remember we are to bring the faith to our generation and the next.
Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remember we are all commissioned to spread the Faith.