Today we see an apparent farewell, but in reality He is more present.
The Gospel for this Sunday is Luke 24:46-53
1 Jesus’ action
Today’s Gospel passage is Jesus’ farewell to his disciples before his ascension. This farewell, however, is only apparent. The disciples understood it, and they responded with joy and praise to God. Jesus is always with his disciples. Moreover, from that moment on, His presence and work is not limited to one place. Jesus is with us, his disciples, where we are, all over the world. How is Jesus with us now? How is he at work today?
2 Key Words
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.”
Jesus is referring to the Scriptures, that is, the Word of God. The Scriptures actually speak of his passion and resurrection. Jesus is present in the Word of God. There we can meet him because he is the Word. Benedict XVI says that each of us is capable of hearing the Word of God and responding to it (exhortation Verbum Domini, 22).
“Repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, will be preached in His name.”
Jesus brings forgiveness of sins to all. He wants to forgive us and wants us to be happy and free from sin. This is how Jesus is present and working very concretely today in our lives, if we only want it.
“And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.”
The promise of the Father is the Holy Spirit. Jesus also calls him the power from on high. Jesus himself experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in his mission, and he promised the Spirit to us before his ascension. The Holy Spirit empowers believers and transforms their hearts. He advises how to live in friendship with Jesus and how to proclaim him to others.
“[Jesus] raised his hands, and blessed them.”
Jesus blessed his disciples before his ascension. This blessing gives them joy. Jesus’ blessing is still there for all who believe, for all times. I can ask Jesus for his blessing and be certain that I will receive it.
Jerusalem tradition has it that Jesus, ascending into heaven, left his mark on a rock. On the Mount of Olives there is a stone with a footprint. It reminds us that Jesus is close to us, that he is present and at work.
How do I encounter the Risen Jesus today? What signs of His presence are especially important to me?