Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

The Ascension of the Lord

Mark 16: 15-20ascension.jpg

“Proclaim the Good News to all creation”

What we call the paschal mystery is a single reality drawing together in one movement the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord. After three years of public ministry proclaiming and living the good news of the reign of God, Jesus was unjustly put to death on the cross. He had remained faithful always to the Father and the Father remained faithful to him: he raised him from death into glory. In the Gospel of John, without using the word ‘ascension’, Jesus expresses this reality as follows: “I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I am leaving the world to go to the Father”. The Ascension marks the final withdrawal of Jesus from his disciples and at the same time expresses his present glory “at the right hand of God”.

The earthly mission of Jesus is over and now it is the turn of his disciples to continue his work “to proclaim the Good News to all creation”. The fact that Jesus will no longer be physically present opens up a new time; this is now the time of the community of his disciples. No longer would he be on hand to answer all their questions, to guide them, show them, tell them what to do, what to say at every situation. He had promised to be with them through the gift of his Spirit and henceforth, aided by the Spirit, they must discern for themselves how best to continue his mission.

Initially hesitant, as Jesus was taken from their sight, they stood there staring towards heaven, no doubt feeling lost and afraid, an attitude for which the angelic messengers rebuked them. Now they must lower their eyes to the everyday realities of this world in which they are called to be witnesses of Christ, bringing to people everywhere the good news of salvation and of God’s reign of love, truth, justice and peace.