Vocation Meditation -
Ascension Sunday 2009
Jesus appeared to the eleven, and he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe; by using My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the Good News everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.
This passage, attached after the ending written by Mark, is a later summary which found place in this Gospel and was accepted by the first Christian Community close to the evangelist. It is of great interest to see the picture of the first disciples empowered and sent by Christ to the world. It is clear to them that the Church had certain tasks in order that the fruits of redemption would be shared to the whole world.
The Church has a preaching task. It is the duty of the Church and it is also the duty of every Christian. This Christian duty is to be a herald of the Good News of Jesus.
The Church has a healing task. Jesus had seen the pains and burdens of humanity. He was concerned in making them whole again. Christianity is concerned with bodies and as well as minds. Jesus tasked His Church to bring health to the body and health to the soul.
The Church, to do these, has a sure source of power. At the back of Jesus' picturesque language about lifting snakes and taking poisonous liquids where one comes to no harm is the conviction that the Christian is filled with the power to cope with life's difficulties and challenges. Jesus sent His Spirit to guide us, to teach us, to comfort us and to defend us from any harm that could separate us from Him.
The Church is never left alone to do its saving work. Christ reassures His disciples and His Church of His unfailing accompaniment. Christ in His Spirit and through His followers works with it, in it and always through His name. He is in the Church always until the end of time.
Christ, in ascending into heaven, has not left us orphans. He is with us more than ever. He gave us the secret to live fuller, happier lives. We must live our Christian lives in the faith and power of His redeeming Presence in the Church till the end of time.
"Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News."
Do I take this task each day seriously, joyously and with urgency?
You have chosen me to follow you more closely. The tasks you left your Church are now mine. Make me your audacious herald of good news. Allow me to comfort and heal the lives of those around me. By my prayer and apostolic life may my vocation speak much of your power and presence working in me. Amen
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.