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The beginning of the Acts of the Apostles is the launch pad of the mission of the Church. In those opening verses we have the account of the Ascension of the Lord into heaven and his promise, his mandate and his promise, to those who know themselves to be his disciples, to go out. That mandate and promise is ratified, it's underlined by, the appearance of the two angels who say, 'Jesus is gone, he's gone back to heaven, but you now have this task of taking his word and his power and his actions and letting them through you spread throughout the whole world.' The beginning of the Acts of the Apostles is of course as it were the second book addressed to Theophilus and so it's the unfolding of all that the life, the words and actions and the mission of Jesus really meant. And there are two particular points about this moment of the Ascension that I would like to emphasise. The first is that it is the engine-room of hope for us who live the Christian life life because here the disciples and we with them, get a glimpse of what lies before us. We get a glimpse of the glory of heaven. We get a glimpse of the fulfilment for which we have been created and which we want to offer as a vision, for people in the world who often live without much vision and without much hope. Now what's interesting is that we don't have descriptions of what Christ looked like at the moment of his Ascension. But we do have some help. Because in a way we go back to the moment of the Transfiguration, because we're told that the three who saw the transfigured Jesus saw him filled with the glory of God. So the Transfiguration complements the account of the Ascension. And there as best as they could they describe this radiant figure, this figure of Christ with his garments as shining white and his face full of the glory of God. And that spells out a good deal of an image of the hope that lies in front of us all. But then there's a second moment about the Ascension and about the appearance of the risen Christ which we can bring in here. It comes from the end of St Matthew's Gospel, where in Matthew's account the disciples meet Jesus at the appointed place and he appears before him, and they bow down in worship before him. They kneel before him. Though then Matthew encouragingly adds, 'though some hesitated'. And as we grasp our mission, as we grasp the opportunities to share in the vision and the victory of Christ, those few words are good to remember: 'though some hesitated'. Because that's what we have to be ready for: the hesitation in our own hearts, the hesitation in the hearts of those whom we address. And we need to be patient, sensitive, reverential towards the hesitation in people's hearts and not simply wanting to blow it away with our enthusiasm. So the Ascension of the Lord is the powerhouse of our mission. But it's a powerhouse of mission because it's a powerhouse of hope. And it's a powerhouse which is sensitive, which wants to engage in a real relationship with those whom we meet and with whom we want to share our faith. It's not a mandate to bully, it's not a mandate to insist, it's not a mandate to seek to overpower others. It's a mandate to walk with them sensitively in the deepest compassion and the deepest reverential understanding of the other who comes to me as a gift of God.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 17 seconds
Country: Andorra
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 25
Posted by: annafjmorris on Apr 9, 2018


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