Ascension of the Lord       

            As I was starting to prepare my homilies for this Sunday, I was inspired to put my reflections on the Solemnity we celebrate today, the Lord’s Ascension, into a prayer-poem, with the title “Let Us Not Let Him Down.” Allow me to share it with you – and pray it with you:

Ascending to the Father in glory
After fulfilling his whole ministry
Crowning in heaven the King’s victory
The reward of his Paschal mystery
Showing our final destination
More than happiness and satisfaction
Us with Him in heaven is His vision
Once we have accomplished our mission
His Presence cannot be away and gone
Cannot leave us to be alone and one
Pouring His Spirit to everyone
Anyone who wishes His mission done
“I will be with you always,” he promised
His presence and power not to be missed
Command and order not to be dismissed
Full embrace of what needs to be practiced
Commissioned to make his family grow
To carry on his mission we must know
Seeds of the Kingdom we must bring and sow
And keep the light of the Gospel aglow
Called to be his faithful mission partners
To bring the Good News to all the corners
Chosen to be receivers and givers
Of grace to our sisters and brothers
His faith and confidence in us is shown
In the mission given as our own
That selfless, self-giving love be made known
Let us go forth, let us not let Him down

            Today’s Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is a good reminder of the Lord’s faith in us. We Christians not only believe in God; we also believe that God believes in us. As I have just said, the Lord’s faith and confidence in his human mission-partners is on display as he commissions his disciples in today’s gospel: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”

            Let us allow the Lord’s faith in us to empower us as we go to proclaim the Gospel. For, indeed, he enables us to go, not just to bring the Good News, but to become good news ourselves to others – to our family and friends, to our household and neighborhood, to our social network, to our parish ministry and community, to our divided nation, to our wounded world. The risen-ascended Lord empowers us to go and show goodness, kindness, and gentleness to people… to go and affirm them, appreciate them, encourage them… to go and be an instrument of dialogue and understanding… to go and be a channel of reconciliation, peace and unity… to go and build up the kingdom of God.

            Fr. Raul de los Santos, in his gospel reflection, candidly says: “Our ascension – when and how we will be taken up to heaven – is God’s problem.” “We should be more concerned about going to others.” Going to others to be bearers of the Good News and to become good news ourselves – to be living reflections of God’s goodness and love, to be credible signs of God’s mercy and forgiveness. That is our part of the deal.

            We need to give evidence of what we believe, That evidence can be observed and judged by what we say and do each day. Someone once said: “What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” We preach more by who we are.

            I used to ask this question: Why did Jesus immediately ascend to heaven? Why did he already ascend when it seems that his mission is not yet completed, not yet accomplished, not yet fulfilled? The answer I found in prayer is this: It is because the risen-ascended Jesus believes that we can carry on his mission. He believes that we can perform and accomplish the task he entrusted to us. The Lord believes in you – Ricky and Annette, Mikko and Tippy, Carlo and Krista, Nick and Katrina, Angelica and Gello, Ilai and Ania, Allie and Javo… The Lord believes in each of us – that is why he tells us: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Please, do not let him down.  

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