Witness and Proclaim!

    A school religion teacher once asked her students at the end of the class, "How many of you would like to go to heaven?" All put up their hands, except one. When the teacher asked him, "Why do you not want to go to heaven?" he said, "My mother told me not to go anywhere else after school, but to come straight home!"

    The critical moment in a relay race is the passing of the baton from one runner to another. More relays are won or lost at that moment than at any other. The feast of the Ascension might be compared to the passing of the baton in a relay race. On this day over 2,000 years ago, Jesus passed on responsibility for the Kingdom of God to his followers. He commissioned them to complete the work he had begun.

    Matthew, Mark and Acts record Jesus' last words which sum up the message of the Ascension: (1) "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8);  (2) "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19); (3) "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation" (Mk 16:15).  

    From all these common messages it is clear that Jesus gives his disciples the mission of bearing witness to him by preaching and living the good news. They are to tell and re-tell the story of Jesus' life, suffering, death and resurrection. This is the mission which never ends. Practically, what does this mean? How do we in the 21st century carry out Jesus' commission to proclaim and witness?

    God gives us ample opportunity to proclaim his word in our homes, neighborhoods, and everywhere we go. We must re-tell the story of Jesus to our grand kids, Catholic friends, as well as to those who have fallen away from the Church. Worldly affairs should not distract us from this task. Jesus assures us of his divine assistance through the Holy Spirit.

    After living a value-based life on earth, we will rise to meet Jesus. Christ is our head and we are his body. Where the head is, the body also must be. This is our faith…it is the essence of what we believe. (From Pulpit to Pews, Cycle A, Page #50 & 51)

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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