AscenB18. Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11. “He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days.” Jesus had truly died and truly arose from the dead. He proved that to his apostles in a physical way, visible to their eyes and palpable to their touch. However, the time of Jesus’ physical presence was shortly to end and Christianity was to enter into a spiritual phase that demands a faith in what we cannot see or touch but which is fostered by the divine work of the Holy Spirit. Through his powerful presence in the timid, previously fearful Apostles, Jesus’ salvific work was brought “to the ends of the earth.” Jesus ascended into heaven but some day will return just as he ascended. That will be Jesus, the divine King, at the end of the universe. When it will happen belongs to God, and God alone, to know.
Mark 16:15-20. “Jesus proclaimed to them, ‘go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” He “was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.” Through the Spirit, Jesus worked with his disciples, at first in a very visible, physical way but later, in a more spiritual and hidden way, demanding more faith on the part of the believer.
- Ephesians 1:17-23. At first Paul calls upon us through the power of God to come to know what hope we have been given from the riches of his glory and infinite power for us who put our faith in him. Secondly, Paul says that we have put our faith in the Christ who is at the right hand of God the Father far above everything or anyone. “And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body.” As we receive the body and blood of Christ in communion, we, as church, become his body with him as our head. We have been given a deep intimacy of union with him, so much is he a part of us and we, a part of him. Jesus, filled with all goodness and love, fills us with all that is himself. What eternal joy we have!
- Ephesians 4:1-13. The call or vocation that Christ has given us is to live in heaven one day. We need to start living now as though we were already in heaven, “bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of spirit through the bond of peace.” Through the Spirit he is equipping us for the work of the ministry by proclaiming the gospel to all in order to build up the church, which is the body of Christ. We are all called to be one, united in Christ. The depths of that union enable us to grow and develop as God’s holy ones, “to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.”