Listen to this: God became man so that man might become God. Can you think of anything more important, more profound, more powerful than that? God became man, so that you and I might share in His Divinity. When you wrap your head around what this means, the implications are staggering. We have the power to create new life. Been given dominion over all the earth. We have the power to forgive and to heal, the power to love and to save. We even have the assurance of life after death.
How can this be? How can I, a mere human being, possibly share in the divinity of the God who created me? Because the ascension of the risen Lord was not an ending...rather, it marks a new beginning. On the surface, it might appear that Christ’s Ascension was a departure...a departure of a historical figure who lived and preached for awhile, but then went away...but this thinking would be a complete misunderstanding of the Ascension.
Precisely because of his Ascension, Christ is able to come to us in a new way – in His Spirit. Through his Ascension, the humanity of Jesus Christ is taken to a new status, the highest of all states of being. Now seated at the right hand of the Father, in the fullness of divinity, Christ comes to us through the power of the Holy Spirit — especially in His Sacraments...baptism, confirmation, reconciliation, the Holy Eucharist. Through his Spirit, Jesus dwells in us and continues to live though us.
hink of St. Theresa's beautiful song...Christ has no body now but yours...no hands, no feet on earth but yours...
We are assured that Jesus did not leave us orphans after his Ascension. What was the promise he made to his disciples?...I am with you...always...until the end of time. Yes, Jesus ascended to heaven, but from there he directs the ongoing construction of the Kingdom of God here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Jesus is able to do so with our help. All who are baptized are called to participate in the mission of the Church, which is to Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in His name, and teaching them to observe all that Jesus teaches us.
Jesus hit the start button when he summoned the disciples and gave them the instruction to overthrow the reign of Satan and to proclaim the coming of God's reign. His disciples were ill-equipped for the most important mission in salvation history. These very ordinary men were not the best or the brightest. They had no high-tech weapons, no money, not even cellphones.
Yet, Jesus entrusted them with a seemingly impossible objective, instructing them to take on the evil forces of the world with nothing more than an abiding faith in God. A real-life Mission Impossible; a mission that would succeed or fail with cosmic consequences.
I can just imagine how Jesus broke the news to those he summoned: Men, Satan and his evil minions are on the loose, roaming the world seeking the ruin of souls. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to proclaim to all the world the Kingdom of God is at hand, to repent and believe in the Gospel.
Jesus then challenges his team of disciples to radically trust Him as they go forward. He challenges them to believe that they have the power to change the world - by converting one human heart at a time - and to recognize that the power of love and forgiveness is greater than all the forces of evil.
I would say the twelve who started the mission of the Church have done very well. Yes, our pilgrim Church has passed though some very rough waters. But, in the short two thousand years since the apostles were first commissioned to make disciples of all nations, literally billions of people have come to know Jesus Christ through the work of his Church.
Today’s Gospel is enormously relevant because we have been passed the baton from the faithful who came before us. It's now our turn to carry on the mission. Like the first disciples, we too are terribly inadequate and ill-equipped to carry on the mission, yet we are called to radically trust that God will provide everything we need.
The very fact that we are called to carry on the work of Jesus Christ in building the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven reminds us of our importance in God’s plan of salvation and reflects the elevation of our human dignity to the divine. After his Ascension, Jesus sends us his Spirit so that we can share in his divinity and become his co-creators and co-redeemers. As Christians, we can't sit on the sidelines. No benchwarmers. Our active participation is required. So, men and women of Galilee, why are we still staring at the sky?
Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hand withwhich He blesses all the world.