Witnesses of Christ Today

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The WORD in other words (2023) by Fr. Jose Honorio P. Mateo, SVD – Paraguay, South America

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord / A

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord´s Ascension. The First Reading narrates the ascension of Jesus and the Father´s promise to send the Holy Spirit. The Second Reading describes how God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand. In the Gospel, Jesus ascends into heaven, makes us witnesses of his resurrection, entrusts us the mission to make disciples of all nations, and assures us of his everlasting presence.  Today we shall reflect on the meaning of the ascension. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that ¨the ascension marks the definitive entrance of  Christ´s humanity into God´s heavenly domain. In the ascension, Jesus precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we may live in the hope of one day being with him forever. In heaven, Jesus intercedes for us and assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit¨ (CCC 665-667). The ascension means the completion of Jesus’ mission and the end of his earthly ministry. It signals Christ’s return to heavenly glory. 

For the disciples, the ascension means the beginning of the preaching of all that Jesus had taught them. The mission of spreading the good news had been passed on to them. The ascension made them witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth. So while the Gospel of Luke is about all that Jesus taught and did, the whole book of the Acts of the Apostles is all about how the disciples became vigorous advocates of Jesus and champions of the good news.

For us, the ascension is also a call to be witnesses of Jesus wherever we are, how we live, and how we speak. ¨Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?¨ These words are addressed to us too. It is a call to do something for God`s kingdom. 

The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated in connection with World Communications Day. We reflect on how modern technology has shaped the way we communicate with one another. ¨The Catholic Church recognizes that if the tools of social communications are used properly, they can greatly benefit humanity. Reversely, if misused, they are incredibly detrimental¨. (Inter Mirifica #2)

Fake news and bad news flood our lives nowadays. In this age of information, dis-infomation, and misinformation, we, the disciples of Jesus, must all the more advance the importance of the Good News in our lives!

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