Dear Believers in the Risen Christ,
In today’s gospel, Luke 24:46-53, Jesus describes his mission on earth. He suffered and rose from the dead. Repentance and forgiveness of sins are preached in his name. Then he tells his disciples, “You are witnesses of these things.”
We too, from the depths of our faith and the glorious love Jesus has for us, are witnesses to his life on earth and to his passion, death, and resurrection. This has been handed down to us. We are partakers of such miracles. We have inherited such wisdom from those who first peered into an empty tomb. We hold in our hearts the Holy Spirit who guides us, loves us, and protects us from harm.
On this Feast of the Ascension, we celebrate Jesus leaving the earth and preparing the world for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Risen Christ had to physically leave the earth so the gift of the Holy Spirit could be given to the entire world. We are not alone. We are not abandoned. We are not separate from God. The gifts of God’s love, healing, and hope are made visible in our hearts and in every believer.
Today, we examine our role as witnesses to Christ. We explore the wonder of Jesus Christ in the very fabric of our existence, in the miracle of being alive on earth. In the complexity of the world, we must believe we are part of a plan to do our part to heal, to forgive, and to work for justice. Each of us holds in our hearts a piece of glory, a treasure of heavenly hope because we belong to Jesus Christ from our baptism. Each week we process down the aisle of the church to receive the Eucharist, to taste for our own lives the incredible beauty and life of the Risen Christ.
While we are on earth, we hold in our lives the very mission of Jesus Christ. We are to work for the common good, for peace among family, and among all our relationships. We are to seek the love God has for us, to know the wisdom of our ancestors deep within our hearts. We are witnesses to love here on earth. We must never forget our place in the love of God. We must take to heart this responsibility and call to flood the world with the beauty of Jesus’ presence because we belong to such a vision and mission.
Before Jesus parted, he raised his hand and blessed the disciples. We rest our lives under the hand of his blessing. We belong to such a moment when he left the earth and relied on his followers to carry on his mission. Don’t ever forget your call to put love into practice. Don’t let others tell you that you are not good enough for this task. Don’t forget your heart that aches for such beauty and compassion in the Master who healed the sick, forgave the sinner, and opened new paths for the lost. We all belong in him, in the wonder of our Messiah who left the earth so we could carry on his presence in every aspect of the world. All is holy, all is love. You are witnesses of these things.
As he blessed them, he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor