Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Matt 28:16-20
There was an old saying: “Words push, examples pull.” Someone adds: Any good Christian is a walking Bible even though he has never quoted a verse. In fact good Christian example may be the only gospel illiterate people can read.”
In other words, even if we speak convincingly, even if we speak too much but our actions contradict to what we are saying, nothing happen. Even if we convince people in us but we could not fool God who knows and sees everything in what we are doing.
Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into Heaven. That is, he ascended into heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father as what our Apostles’ Creed is telling us.
After Jesus gathered His disciples in Galilee for the last time with His physical presence and instructed them on what to do, He ascended into heaven to be with His Father which is our Father too. His ascension into heaven is a sign that His life here on earth has already ended; He ends also His teaching and suffering here on earth. That is why, the light of paschal candle ends also today to signify that Christ has already gone physically in the eyes of His disciples.
Hence His ascension was not just a farewell (despedida) party for Him. Above all, it is the giving of an unfinished business, that is, His mission which He entrusts to His apostles and to us too. He expects us to continue this mission. What is this mission? This mission is not new to us. It has already existed for more than two thousand years. This mission is not only given to few people but to all of us. They are: to witness to Christ in the world, to preach the Good news that God redeemed us and to show by our love that He is always with us. All in all, there are three types of mission.
First is to witness to Christ in the world. Jesus said: “…your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father,” (Matt 5:16) but how? Through our prayer and worship, loving concern and care for others or a good life. Somebody commented that he will not undergo Parish renewal Experience (PREX) seminar because as he observed those who underwent such kind of seminar, nothing happen, nothing new and they are still on their old self and ways. Sad to say, it is becoming worse. I was tempted to tell him that he is wrong and that we will not base our conversion and change on others’ deeds. But there are some truths to what he said. If we enter into this kind of life, a changed life, more is expected from us. If we are like this before, I hope we are not the same at present.
Second is to preach the good news that God redeemed us. But how can we preach to other people if we don’t know what to preach? How can we give to other people if we don’t have anything to give? That is why our church is giving seminars, trainings, education and etc, in order for us to prepare for this noble act. But how many are responding? Very few are responding. I can count them with my fingers. Only few are willing to know and to be taught. So, up to now, there are still Catholics whom we considered as uneducated though educated academically and “un-churched.”
Third is to show by our love that he is always with us but how? We can do it though the testimony of our daily living. If you are a businessman, pay your employees with a just and honest payment. If we are working in public or private offices, do not accept any bribery or kickbacks when somebody is processing his/her papers in order to fulfill Christ’s teaching of honesty.
Another one is by making people to like you. There are six ways: 1. be genuinely interested in other people. Give first your attention and interest to your fellowmen before you expect them to have interest in you. 2. Smile. A sincere smile begets sincere smile. “Smile and the whole world smiles at you.” 3. Remember people’s names. Bear in mind that the name of a person to him is the most wonderful sound. 4. Be a good listener. Be genuinely interested in hearing what other people are saying. 5. Talk in terms of the other man’s interests. 6. Sincerely make the other person feel important – say something nice about him.
Let us pray that we can faithfully fulfill our mission. Remember this: “Believe what you read, teach what you believe and live it.”