Ascension Day Sermon

A message for the feast of Ascension.

21st May 2020

GOSPEL:  Luke 24:44-53


Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them.  While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy (Luke 24:50-52)

Today we celebrate the feast of the Ascension of Jesus, the moment when the risen Christ departs Earth to take his place in Heaven at the right hand of God. 

The Biblical accounts of the Ascension focus not so much on the details of the event as on the mission Jesus gave to his disciples.  

Christ’s Ascension or going up to heaven completes his Incarnation or coming down to earth. Christ has opened the way to heaven for us.  Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him forever.  Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

 The Ascension message is to "Preach the Good News and be my witnesses:" 
Jesus gave the disciples a mission of bearing witness by preaching and living the Good News.  They are to tell and re-tell the story of Jesus' life, suffering, death and Resurrection. He assured them of the Divine assistance of the Holy Spirit in the carrying out of this mission.  He instructed them to baptize the believers: “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.”

In today's Gospel, Jesus gives this mission to all of us: "Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” This mission is not given to a select few but to all believers. To be a Christian is to be a proclaimer and an evangelizer. There is a difference between preaching and proclaiming. We preach with words but we proclaim with our lives. As we celebrate the Lord’s return to His Father in Heaven – His Ascension -- we are being commissioned to go forth and proclaim the Gospel of life and love, of hope and peace, by the witness of our lives. On this day of hope, encouragement and commissioning, let us renew our commitment to be true disciples everywhere we go, beginning with our family and our parish, living in a manner worthy of the call we have received.



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