Ascension of Jesus
The men in white rebuked the witnesses for looking up into the sky when Jesus ascended into heaven. Why? Surely that’s what any of us would have done.
The gospel writer was saying that any disciple of Jesus was wasting his time looking into space, but should be getting on with spreading the Good News about Jesus.
Too many churchmen spend their time fussing about the Liturgy or the Lectionary or the Hymnal, when they should be out on the streets demonstrating their support for the poor and needy, for those who have no access to medical help, for the people whose schools are a farce, for those who cannot find employment.
Jesus’s ascension is a poetic way of saying that he returned to full communion with his Father, which he voluntarily blocked off so that he could be be fully human. This means that he was hungry and thirsty, that he was tired and frustrated, that he had doubts about his vocation and about whether God even existed – none of that is sinful, but is the normal experience of all human beings.
But all his life, he preached that we must love our neighbors and our enemies. And, you know, sometimes they are the same people! We have to do what he would be doing in 2012 if he were here in the flesh. And indeed he is here in the flesh. You and I are “other Christs”. Though he has ascended into heaven, he is still with us through his Spirit which lives in us. So what we do as Christians is what our Lord would do. What a responsiblility!
We have to think of that next time we go to the polls, next time we look at our charitable giving, next time we divide our time up into our own pleasures and visiting the housebound and sick of our friends and families. If our life is carefree and without the need to look after others, there is something wrong with our faith. Jesus has not disappeared into the clouds; he is watching every move we make.
Be afraid – be very afraid!