“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.” Matthew 28:19-20 (Year A)

Today I took the liberty of celebrating the Solemnity of Ascension Thursday on Thursday ( how novel). Our diocese among some others have moved Ascension Thursday to Sunday, but I thought since we are living in strange times well, let’s just get stranger. 

Jesus completes His mission on Earth and ascends into Heaven to take His seat on His glorious throne for all eternity.  Or does He?  The answer is yes and no ( this seems to be the Church’s favorite answer).  Yes, He does take His seat on His glorious throne, but no, He does not complete His mission on Earth. The Ascension is both the end and the beginning. It’s a transition to the next phase in the perfect plan of the Father.  We are have heard a lot about phases during this time of quarantine, and now this time of “re-opening” of churches and businesses and the plans and phases of Man is at times much more mysterious and confusing than God’s plans and phases. God’s plans should leave us in awe and wonder. 

Sure, the Apostles were probably somewhat frightened and confused.  Jesus was with them, then He died, then He rose and appeared various times, and then He ascended to the Father before their eyes.  But He also told them that it is good that He goes.  In fact, He said that it’s better that He goes.  They must have been confused.  Jesus also told them His Advocate would come to lead them into all Truth.  So, the Apostles went from joy to fear, to relief and more joy, to confusion and sorrow, to curiosity and uncertainty.  

Sound familiar?  Perhaps that’s the way some find their lives to be.  Ups and downs, twists, and turns, joys and sorrows.  Each phase reveals something new, something challenging, something glorious or something sorrowful.  The good news is that the Father’s plan is unfolding perfectly.

The part of the perfect plan we find ourselves in with this solemnity is the part where Jesus begins to direct His mission of establishing the Kingdom of God from Heaven.  His throne is, in a sense, the driver’s seat of our lives.  From Heaven, Jesus suddenly begins to descend continuously into our lives fulfilling His mission in and through the Apostles, as well as all of us.  The Ascension does not mean Jesus is gone; rather, it means Jesus is now present to each and every person who turns to Him and surrenders their life to His mission.   It is only from Heaven that Jesus is able to be present to all.  He can live in us and invites us to live in Him. It’s the new beginning of the Church.  Now all the Apostles need to do is wait for the Holy Spirit to descend. 

Reflect, today, upon the abiding and intimate presence of our Lord in your life.  Know that Jesus invites you to share in His mission.  From His glorious throne, He wants us to “preach everywhere.” He wants to invite each one of us to do our part. Certainly we are called to wait for the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth just as the Apostles did at Pentecost. However, all the Apostles were given a part in the mission to go out into the world.

Not one of them was given the command to stay in the upper room. Not one was told to hang back and see “which way the wind will blow,”

Not one of them said, “let us stay here and minister to each other and serve each other.” The Apostles were warned about the dangers they would face. The long journeys, beatings, and persecution they were told about the risks and how the Holy Spirit would strengthen them to face down those risks.  We can not hang back and allow others to take up the mission.   The part of the Father’s plan entrusted to each one of us is not entrusted to another.  We all have a share in that plan. It is not just for priests and religious to preach the gospel. it is a command given to all of the baptized. “Cast out into the deep!” “Be not afraid!” 

What is your part?  How does Jesus direct His mission through you?  Ponder this question today and know that He accompanies you as you say “Yes” to your part in the glorious unfolding of His perfect plan. 

 May God Bless you. 

“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.” Matthew 28:19-20 (Year A)

Today I took the liberty of celebrating the Solemnity of Ascension Thursday on Thursday ( how novel). Our diocese among some others have moved Ascension Thursday to Sunday, but I thought since we are living in strange times well, let’s just get stranger. 

Jesus completes His mission on Earth and ascends into Heaven to take His seat on His glorious throne for all eternity.  Or does He?  The answer is yes and no ( this seems to be the Church’s favorite answer).  Yes, He does take His seat on His glorious throne, but no, He does not complete His mission on Earth. The Ascension is both the end and the beginning. It’s a transition to the next phase in the perfect plan of the Father.  We are have heard a lot about phases during this time of quarantine, and now this time of “re-opening” of churches and businesses and the plans and phases of Man is at times much more mysterious and confusing than God’s plans and phases. God’s plans should leave us in awe and wonder. 

Sure, the Apostles were probably somewhat frightened and confused.  Jesus was with them, then He died, then He rose and appeared various times, and then He ascended to the Father before their eyes.  But He also told them that it is good that He goes.  In fact, He said that it’s better that He goes.  They must have been confused.  Jesus also told them His Advocate would come to lead them into all Truth.  So, the Apostles went from joy to fear, to relief and more joy, to confusion and sorrow, to curiosity and uncertainty.  

Sound familiar?  Perhaps that’s the way some find their lives to be.  Ups and downs, twists, and turns, joys and sorrows.  Each phase reveals something new, something challenging, something glorious or something sorrowful.  The good news is that the Father’s plan is unfolding perfectly.

The part of the perfect plan we find ourselves in with this solemnity is the part where Jesus begins to direct His mission of establishing the Kingdom of God from Heaven.  His throne is, in a sense, the driver’s seat of our lives.  From Heaven, Jesus suddenly begins to descend continuously into our lives fulfilling His mission in and through the Apostles, as well as all of us.  The Ascension does not mean Jesus is gone; rather, it means Jesus is now present to each and every person who turns to Him and surrenders their life to His mission.   It is only from Heaven that Jesus is able to be present to all.  He can live in us and invites us to live in Him. It’s the new beginning of the Church.  Now all the Apostles need to do is wait for the Holy Spirit to descend. 

Reflect, today, upon the abiding and intimate presence of our Lord in your life.  Know that Jesus invites you to share in His mission.  From His glorious throne, He wants us to “preach everywhere.” He wants to invite each one of us to do our part. Certainly we are called to wait for the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth just as the Apostles did at Pentecost. However, all the Apostles were given a part in the mission to go out into the world.

Not one of them was given the command to stay in the upper room. Not one was told to hang back and see “which way the wind will blow,”

Not one of them said, “let us stay here and minister to each other and serve each other.” The Apostles were warned about the dangers they would face. The long journeys, beatings, and persecution they were told about the risks and how the Holy Spirit would strengthen them to face down those risks.  We can not hang back and allow others to take up the mission.   The part of the Father’s plan entrusted to each one of us is not entrusted to another.  We all have a share in that plan. It is not just for priests and religious to preach the gospel. it is a command given to all of the baptized. “Cast out into the deep!” “Be not afraid!” 

What is your part?  How does Jesus direct His mission through you?  Ponder this question today and know that He accompanies you as you say “Yes” to your part in the glorious unfolding of His perfect plan. 

 May God Bless you. 

Rev. Fr. Douglas A. Ondeck

Rev. Fr. Douglas A. Ondeck