Ascension of the Lord
Father Daniel Pajerski, LC
Matthew 28: 16-20
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on 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 always, until the end of the age.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you have the power to do all things, even the power to change my heart of stone into a heart that loves you unconditionally. The day ahead of me will be filled with countless activities, but I know that your presence will give me the strength to do all the things you have commanded me to do.
Petition: Jesus, help me to obey your command to spread your message.
1. Trust and Obedience: Obedience and trust in God are not highly touted virtues in today’s society, yet obedience to Jesus’ command to go to Galilee was the door that gave the apostles access to Christ. Any one of the apostles was free to go his own way, but that way would not necessarily lead him to the vision of the Risen Christ. They had trusted him until this point, and they showed by going that they were ready to entrust their lives entirely to his guidance. When we are obedient to the Word of God, to Christ’s teachings, to the teachings of the Church, we are giving God free rein to live in us and to act through us. Obedience of this kind is possible only when we commit ourselves to the Lord, when we trust in him and exercise a living faith that he wishes to guide us through his appointed instruments.
2. Doubt Is an Invitation: “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124). Following Jesus is a challenge because he does not always allow us to perceive his presence. At times we see him acting clearly in our lives; at other times we doubt, just as the disciples did. Instead of causing us alarm, moments of doubt in our hearts should be countered by a firm decision to trust in him always. Christ drew closer to them precisely when the disciples doubted. At the moment when their vision was clouded, he reassured them: “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me.” Do I turn my mind and heart to Our Lord as soon as my spirit is troubled?
3. With God Everything Is Possible: Jesus wants to share his power with us, and he does so through the Sacraments, beginning with Baptism. With his power he also gives us a share in his mission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Friendship with Jesus is also a commitment to teach others to share in the joy of knowing and loving him. Our relationship with Jesus broadens our horizons because we share in his life and in the life of the Father and of the Holy Spirit. The mission to make disciples of all nations might seem daunting, but God himself is on our side: “Behold, I am with you always.” So our trust in the Lord widens the narrow horizon of our own self-seeking. We need to commit our ways to the Lord so that we can be loyal instruments of his mercy and love. We are called to fulfill his command to spread his message far and wide.
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to share in your life and in your mission. I trust in your loving presence in my life. You are my strength in weakness and my light in darkness. Help me to follow your commandments. In them I find you and I find peace.
Resolution: I will build up charity today by saying only good things about others.