June 2, 2019 — The Ascension of the Lord
On this Feast of the Ascension, we celebrate Christ’s triumphant return to the Father after perfectly accomplishing His mission on earth. But we also can also view this Feast as a celebration of the “launch day” of our commissioning as Christ’s disciples.
Both the First Reading and today’s Gospel draw our attention to the clear instructions that Jesus gave His disciples just before ascending to the Father. In the First Reading, from Acts, He tells them (and us) “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Then in the Gospel, from Luke, we read, “Jesus said to his disciples: “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Embracing a stewardship way of life, with its emphasis on the use of time, talent, and treasure, helps us to live in such a way that our very lives speak as a witness of the Good News of the Gospel. While we take time to reflect and renew our commitments in these three areas annually as a parish family, it is of great benefit to take some time individually throughout the year to take stock of the commitments we have made — looking at both our strengths and our need for continued growth in each area.
In the use of Time, we can ask ourselves if we are keeping the particular prayer commitments we have made. If so, have I noticed a deepened closeness to our Lord and an increase in virtue in my daily life? Perhaps I have let one or two of my “holy habits” go by the wayside. Then simply re-commit to them. Or maybe my prayer commitments have become routine and I could carry them out more intentionally once again. Maybe my schedule has changed and I need to establish a new time to pray.
In the use of Talent, have I stayed faithful to the ministry commitments I made? How is my attitude towards serving? Am I joyful and humble about the work I am doing? How has my serving of others changed and blessed me?
Finally, let’s take a look at our use of Treasure. Have I been generous in my financial giving? If so, have I noticed a deepening trust in God’s care for me? Have I become a little more detached from the pull of materialism that surrounds us all in this day and age?
A stewardship way of life is challenging because it is counter-cultural to put God and others before ourselves. But that is precisely why this way of life is such a powerful witness to the message of the Gospel. And we can embrace this way of life with great confidence and joy because we are not expected to do this on our own. Our Gospel passage today tells us we are “clothed with power from on high.” Whether it is as small a detail as finding a new prayer time, or as big as changing career paths to be more available to loved ones, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to show us the way,
On this Feast of the Ascension, take the time to celebrate your victories as Christ’s disciples and renew your commitment to remain faithful to Him and the unique mission He has entrusted to you!