And as He blessed them, He withdrew (and was taken to heaven)

Gospel text (Lc 24,46-53): Jesus said to his disciples: «You see what was written: the Messiah had to suffer and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in his name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Now you shall be witnesses to this. And this is why I will send you what my Father promised. So remain in the city until you are invested with power from above».

Jesus led them almost as far as Bethany; then He lifted up his hands and blessed them. And as He blessed them, He withdrew (and was taken to heaven. They worshiped him). They returned to Jerusalem full of joy and were continually in the Temple praising God.

Comment: Fr. Josep ALEGRE Abbot of Santa Maria de Poblet (Tarragona, Spain)

Today, in the Ascension of our Lord, we once more remember the “mission” that we have been entrusted with: «And you are witnesses of these things» (Lk 24:48). God's Word is still alive today: «But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth» (Acts 1:8). Also today, there is a current and urgent demand for the Word of God: «Go, therefore, and make disciples from all nations» (Mt 28:19); «He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature’» (Mk 16:15).

In this Solemnity, the invitation of our Master —wrapped up in our humanity— who finishes his mission in this world, strongly reverberates, while leaving us to sit at the right hand of the Father and send us the strength from above, the Holy Spirit.

But I cannot but wonder: —Is the Lord acting through me? Which are the signs attached to my testimony? And I remember the verse of the poet: «You cannot wait for God to tell you: ‘I am’. A God that reveals his power does not make sense. You should know God blows through you from the very beginning, and if your chest burns and shows nothing, then God is working in it».

And this must be our sign: the fire burning inside, the fire that —as with the prophet Jeremiah— cannot be stopped: The Word of God is alive. And one feels like saying: «All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with joyful cries (...). God mounts the throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise» (Ps 47:2.6-7).

His kingdom is germinating in people's hearts, in your heart, like a seed about to bear fruit. —Sing, dance, for your Lord. And, if you do not know how to, place the Word in your lips until it comes down to your heart: —God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I can get to know you. Throw your light upon the eyes of my heart so that I understand the expectancy you are showing me to, the wealth of the glory you have ready for me and the greatness of your power, that you have displayed with the resurrection of Christ.