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Editor's note: This reflection was written on the Solemnity of the Ascension, May 24, 2020.

[caption id="attachment_172179" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]"Ascension" by Fr. Willy Raymond, C.S.C. (CatholicMom.com) CPClegg / CC BY-SA[/caption]

On this Solemnity of the Ascension there are three important points:

  1. A problem!
  2. A promise!
  3. A surprising outcome and charge.

First the problem. If someone asked you, “Where did the Ascension of Jesus take place?” What would you say? Acts of the Apostles says on the Mount of Olives, just two miles from Jerusalem. The Gospel today says, in Galilee, around 100 miles away from Jerusalem. Luke focuses on the mystery of the Ascension as the full glory of the Resurrection on display and the return of the Lord Jesus to the right hand of the Father with His divine and human nature intact and glorified. Whereas Matthew began with the promise that a virgin will be with child and His name shall be Emmanuel, God with us, and concludes his Gospel with the promise of Jesus to be with the disciples all days, until the end of the world. Jesus ascends from Galilee, which is primarily pagan, to signal that the Good News is for all nations, not just the Chosen people of Israel.

Second, His promise to be with the disciples and us all days. Friends, this pandemic with its forced isolation and restriction, as difficult as it has been, may contain one of the great blessings of our lives. It has compelled us to stop, change our routines, and given us the great opportunity to cease chasing after the Lord in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. The Gospel said, the eleven apostles, when they meet Jesus in Galilee, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then they receive this full disclosure of who Jesus is and what He means for their future.

“All power in heaven and 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 all days, until the end of the age.”

Something profound has just happened to them and this something deepens infinitely on Pentecost.

It’s this that makes my spirit spin,

My bones to quake,

My blood run thin,

My very pulse create a din,

My flesh to melt inside my skin,

It’s this that makes my spirit spin,

That heaven is not up but in!

Two angels boom out, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking up at the sky?" You have a lot of work ahead of you if you are going to make disciples of all nations, so get to it.

Don’t forget why the Mass is called the Mass! The priest used to say, "Ite, Missa est!" “Go, you have been sent.” It’s our job to bring God’s love, which we celebrate, to the whole world. Amen.

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Copyright 2020 Fr. Willy Raymond, C.S.C.