AscenB21. Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11. Luke relates that Jesus, after the resurrection “presented himself alive” to his apostles enjoining them to remain in Jerusalem to wait to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. The apostles were still thinking that the kingdom Jesus promised to establish was of a political nature. However, he tells them that the power they will receive is not of a military nature but will be power that will come upon them from the Holy Spirit so that they can give witness “to the ends of the earth” that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus ascends up into heaven to make way for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Then two men dressed in white garments, who we understand to be angels, tell them that one day Jesus will return from heaven, his Second Coming.
Mark 16:15-20. “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.’” “They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.” What Jesus had begun while he was visibly and physically in this world, the Church, led by the apostles, were to continue, by going to the entire world, giving witness to his saving power.
Ephesians 1:17-23 & Ephesians 4:1-13. In his resurrection, Jesus was raised from the dead. In his ascension, Jesus was seated at the right hand of the Father, far above everything and everyone forever. “That he might fill all things” means whatever is good has Jesus as its life-giving energy and his personal presence. Without Jesus the vine, nothing can have any value. His presence and life-giving force or grace equips the holy ones, those devoted to Jesus, “for the work of the ministry, for the building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God.” By the power of Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit, we grow into full adult Christian maturity, “to the extent of the full stature of Christ.” He brings us together into his body with him as the head. With his grace energizing and guiding us, we all must become one or unified in him.