My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The Ascension of the Lord began when Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Thus his whole life was ascending to the Father. His 34-year- ascending (it includes his life in the womb of his Mother) was also about bringing people into a realisation of their origin and their destination. During the Last Supper our Blessed Lord said to his Apostles: ‘I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I am leaving the world to go the Father.’ When I say: ‘I come from God’ I do not claim to be like Jesus. However it is because of Jesus Christ I hold onto the belief that the account of creation from the Book of Genesis announcing that: ‘God created man in the image of himself’ is the story of my beginning, my genesis. It is because of Jesus Christ I hold onto the belief that my genesis is in the loving God. It is also because of Jesus I hold onto the belief that at the end of my life there is the God who out of love created me.
We read in today’s Gospel that after Jesus was taken up into heaven the disciples: ‘Going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.’ I would like to read to you something written by three saints which can give us some light into this responsibility of preaching the word.
The first saint I would like to quote is Ignatius of Antioch, a bishop who was born a few years after the events written in the Gospel took place. He was also a disciple of St John the Apostle. He was also the first person to write down how we call ourselves today: Catholic Church. So Ignatius wrote: ‘There is living water in me, water that murmurs and says within me: Come to the Father.’
The second saint is Teresa of Avila who said: ‘I want to see God and, in order to see him, I must die.’
The third saint is St Therese of Lisieux who when dying of tuberculosis said: ‘I am not dying; I am entering life.’
In the life of these saints, like in the life of other saints, known and unknown, we hear the preaching of the Good News which is not about arguing with people whether God exists or doesn’t, rather it is about revealing in certain situations how we live our faith. This preaching is about verbalising our faith by words but also by actions.
Let me finish with a situation which some friends of mine observed. They were having a meal in a restaurant when a couple walked in. The way they had their hair done, the way they were dressed made my friends thinking: ‘Here we go. Our nice outing is over.’ But when the meal was brought to the table of that couple they first joined hands over the table while bowing their heads and then they made the sign of the cross.
I can say they were good preachers even if they didn’t say a word. In a natural way they showed others what St Paul the Apostle wrote in the Letter to the Corinthians: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ That couple showed others that it was happening. I think they wouldn’t deny if they were asked: ‘Do you come from God?’
What about you my fellow believers?
Do you believe that you come from God?
Do you believe that you are going to God?
Do you believe that God lives with you and walk among you?
Thanks for telling me that. Tell others that as well. That’s the Good News so many people wait for.