[Ascension, Year B, May 17, 2015 / Acts 1:1-11/ Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9 / Eph1:17-28 Mark 16:15-20]
TODAY is Ascension Sunday. Jesus ascends to heaven “to take his place at the right hand of God.” How lucky we are to have a friend in high places! Often when you need something done it helps to have a friend in high places. They can assist you, open doors for you, make the way ahead easier. The disciples are so impressed at seeing the Lord ascending into heaven that they stood still, looking up into the sky. Two men in white (angels in disguise!) ask them, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking up into the sky?” It is a reminder not to be daydreaming for there is some serious work to be done.
If Jesus has gone back to the Father it is to empower his disciples. To give them strength to work in the Lord’s vineyard and to start to reap the harvest.
Jesus gives instructions to the disciples in the gospel:“Go into the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation.” Go “into,” so the mission is not a spectator sport. It is not just to stand by idly watching on from a distance. The lot of every Christian is to get stuck in, to get their hands dirty. Jesus empowers the disciples for this great and challenging task. “These are the signs that will be associated with believers: You will cast out evil spirits, you will speak new languages, pick up snakes in your hands, be unharmed if you drink deadly poison and laying hands on the sick, they will recover.”
As the song goes, “You will see miracles, if you believe.” In His Ascension Jesus does not abandon the disciples but accompanied and “worked with them.” The Greek word for “worked with” is synergy. Synergy is where the total amount is greater than the sum of the parts or in other words one plus one equals not two but three!
Sometimes we can feel our efforts are very small but the Lord multiplies our efficiency. The little seed in the Lord’s hands can bear fruit 30, 60, 100 fold.
This is why St Paul in the second reading encourages the Ephesians, asking that God may “enlighten the eyes of your heart.” What a beautiful expression! Do you know your heart has eyes? To what is St Paul referring? He is talking about that inner sense capable to see God working in the world. Many think that God is silent or simply does not care about the world. But if we open the eyes of our heart we will see him working very hard in the world around us.
The pure of heart will see God and are able to read the Good News of God in the events around them. Lord, open our eyes of faith so we can collaborate with your powerful works in the world. To see God already at work gives us so much courage in sharing the Good News to others. He has already planted what the Tradition of the Church calls “seeds of the Word” in the hearts of all men. Seeds of truth and goodness. To announce the Gospel is simply to remind people of the treasure they have in them and to help them recognize the good work of God in their lives already.
God is already present, we just need to collaborate. Lord, how can I collaborate more with your work in me, in my family, in my community?
So there is no time to be looking up in the sky and daydreaming. There is work to be done. Open our eyes of faith Lord, to see where you are calling us to action! To collaborate with you to make sprout these seeds of the Word you have already planted. If we believe, we will see miracles.
Let us be courageous and go into the whole world. Christ will be with us to accompany us and to work with us. This is our guarantee. He will confirm our words with powerful signs. The world is waiting for Good News, the people are waiting for words of hope and Christ is waiting for your response. What are you waiting for? Let’s go!