Daily Reflection
May 13th, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
The Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Acts 1:1-11
Ephesians 1:17-23
Matthew 28:16-20

It is a more than usual holy day today for the followers of Jesus.  Forty days have past since His rising and our first reading today tells us about things He taught and did during these days.  Now He is lifted up out of their sight and the Church-Expectant begins.

His friends ask Him with great expectation if he is about to restore their rule over Jerusalem.  After all this, they want something to go their way and they will have control and order in their hands and not the Romans.  It doesn't get any more human than that, even at this very sacred moment.

We hear in this-day's gospel the instruction that Jesus gives His followers before ascending.  He gathers them together and gives them their marching orders, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Go therefore  and make disciples of all nations...."    "The Lord continued to work with them throughout and confirm  the message through the signs which accompanied them."  These signs were strange and wondrous powers to heal, to drink deadly poisons and the like.

 We receive the prayer of the writer of the letter to the Ephesians in our second reading for this Holy Day, "May the God of our lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight to know Him clearly."  We would know Him clearly if we could see Him clearly, might be our natural response.  We hear that we are to have an "innermost vision" which would allow us to find Him even after His ascending.

We, the Christian Community stand around the table of mystery this day and believe, because we have seen enough signs, and have developed some kind of innermost vision that frees us to want to live and celebrate in our living, the Good News that He has been faithful.  We are the "expectant church" watching His ascension and seeing at the same time His presence in the "breaking of the bread," and the breaking open of the moments of our lives.

"Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up at the skies?"  In no uncertain terms the early believers are told to get on with it.  They do respond and begin the work of being church.

So we, the Church leave the liturgy today with the words of the final prayer ringing in our ears and hearts: "May His gifts help us to rise with Him to the joys of heaven..."  Of course we leave church heading towards heaven, but while we are waiting, we are giving birth to the Church alive.  "The eleven went forth and preached everywhere.  The lord continued to work with them throughout and confirm the message through the signs which accompanied them."  He has risen and we are the new signs blest by our Eucharistic gathering.  "...and behold, I am with you always until the end of the age."

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