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Homilies by Father Jaimon Dominic » Notes » Ascension Sunday 2018

  • Ascension Sunday 2018

    Posted by Mary Wilson May 12, 2018 - Category: Spirituality - 445 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #witness  #evangelize  #proclaim 

    The Gospels contain many parables of a master who sets out on a long journey and gives his servants charge of his estate until his return. In the feast of the Ascension of the Lord parable becomes reality. Jesus departs to his heavenly Father and leaves his disciples in charge of the affairs of his kingdom till his return in glory. Each of the Gospels we have ends with a scene in which Jesus finally takes leave of his disciples. These farewell scenes focus not on describing the event in detail but on the last words that Jesus leaves with his disciples. In today’s gospel we find the last words of Jesus as “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”.

    A beautiful old story tells of how Jesus, after his Ascension into Heaven, was surrounded by the holy angels who began to enquire about his work on earth. Jesus told them about his birth, life, preaching, death and Resurrection, and how he had accomplished the salvation of the world. The angel Gabriel asked, “Well, now that you are back in Heaven, who will continue your work on earth?" Jesus said, "While I was on earth, I gathered a group of people around me who believed in me and loved me. They will continue to spread the Gospel and carry on the work of the Church.” Gabriel was perplexed. "You mean Peter, who denied you thrice and all the rest who ran away when you were crucified? You mean to tell us that you left them to carry on your work? And what will you do if this plan doesn't work?" Jesus said, "I have no other plan -- it must work." Truly, Jesus has no other plan than to depend on the efforts of his followers! In all fairness, the Disciples of Christ had been faithful to fulfilling the tasks entrusted to them. Indeed, they went to the different parts of the world; they persistently proclaimed the good news; and they baptized a good number of people.

    The mission is to bear witness to the Good News of Jesus to the ends of the earth, to go into all nations of the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation…. The universal reach of this mission is very clear. The message of Jesus is meant to be good news in the ears of all humankind irrespective of nationality or culture. Given the fact that till date many nations have embraced other religions in preference to the gospel, maybe it is time to ask: Are these people rejecting the message of Jesus or are they rejecting the messengers and the way in which they have presented it? The air of superiority and triumphalism assumed by many Christian missionaries is a disservice to the gospel and not part of the good news. Have we perhaps spoilt the Good Story in the telling?

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, some mission-minded Christians started a periodical and called it “The Christian Century.” That title was an expression of their triumphalistic belief that by the end of the century the whole world would have been Christianized. Today we have hopefully grown wiser and humbler as we realize that in the 20th century, not only did we fail to Christianize the whole world, but rather that we added two world wars to our record of “accomplishments.”

    Dear friends, the last words are mostly the lasting words. The last words of Jesus “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”. The end of the person is judged by the ‘means’ he reached ‘the end’. The spreading of the Good News to all nations is not a goal that can be attained by dint of human might and craft. Not a convenient life but a convinced life of transparent Christian lives will make the gospel to reach the other side of the world to the end of the world. The following modern day account illustrates the continuing Church witnessing, powered by the Holy Spirit.

    A video released by ISIS in mid-February 2015 showed 21 men being beheaded on a Mediterranean beach in Libya. Most of the men were Coptic Christian workers from Egypt, and the killers made it clear that they were being killed because of their faith in Christ. Some of the men could be heard murmuring the name of Jesus as they faced death. But it has now emerged that one of the men was not Egyptian, but from Chad. And according to Ahram-Canadian News the darker skinned man had not been a Christian. But the faith and courage of his fellow hostages inspired him to accept faith in Jesus. When the terrorists called on him to reject Jesus Christ as God, looking at his Christian friends he replied, “Their God is my God”. Once again the blood stained sword raised in the air.

    “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”.