Speak Lord – Don’t stare at the skies, live: live well, on the earth.

Image

As we begin to prepare for Sunday, the feast of the Ascension, it is a time for taking stock, of noting what responsibilities have been handed on to us.

Again, the first reading comes from the Acts of the Apostles, indeed is the very first sentences of that book…

In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’

Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’

As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’

Acts 1:1-11

  • Who last witnessed Christ’s power and glory to you?
  • To who did you last minister his power and glory?

With the Ascension Jesus bodily ministry on earth comes to an end, or at least his direct bodily ministry. His Body remains present as the Church and her members.

The prayer ascribed to St Teresa of Avilla makes this point with great simplicity and power:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

  • How can you minister the love and compassion of Christ today?

Image of the Ascension is taken from the Rosary Triptych by Arthur Fleischman (c) the Fleischman Foundation. Photograph (c) Allen Morris.

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