Sunday, June 5, 2011

"The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
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.”
(Matt 28:16-20)

If Jesus had remained on earth in His physical body, even resurrected from the dead, the Good News would be too limited. In assuming our human nature Jesus set aside His unlimited Glory, so to share in our limitedness, our finiteness. It is estimated that Jesus never traveled more than 100 miles from where He was born. In His physical, human body, He would be limited in how many people He could proclaim the Good News to. Also, His Apostles would remain merely followers; allowing Jesus to do all the real work of preaching.

In Ascending to Heaven, Jesus assures His Apostles that He will send them the Holy Spirit who will empower them to go to the ends of the earth, and to the end of time, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. In addition to being followers of Christ, the Apostles become Witnesses, spreading the Gospel far and wide. As the Mystical Body of Christ all the baptized become the hands of Jesus as they heal the sick, the voice of Jesus proclaiming the words of eternal life, the back of Jesus helping people carry the burdens of their lives. In the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, the finiteness of Jesus’ physical body is now set aside so that His Infinite Glory, which He has had for all eternity, can shine out into the world.

The Ascension of our Lord also makes clearer our goal, our real destiny, what will make us ultimately happy, or as it is put in the Gospels, Blessed. While honoring the material world, Jesus always called His disciples to a deeper reality. He reminded them, and us, that our real home is heaven, and therefore we need to look at things in this world with spiritual eyesight. This supernatural – that is that which is above the natural – reality, perfect communion with Christ Jesus, is the ultimate destiny of every person. Yet we can become so distracted along the way by the more immediate things of this world. This is not to say that everything in the world is evil. No, God created the world so all in it is good, but we cannot allow the things in this world to distract us from our destiny. The people and things in this world should always be pointing us to Jesus, to our destiny. When they cease doing that, and become the focus of our desires instead, they become idols.

Let us not merely be people “standing there looking at the sky,” as the Apostles did at first when Jesus ascended into Heaven. Rather let us do the work of ministry, as St. Paul reminded us today, “for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God….”

Peace and love,

Reverend Sue Provost

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)

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