“And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.” —Mark 16:19
Today is the feast of Ascension Thursday. Forty days after Jesus’s Resurrection, Christ gave His final commands to His disciples and ascended bodily into Heaven, where He reigns at the right hand of God.
Matthew’s Gospel records Jesus’s parting injunction: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” As Christians, it is not enough that we be personally holy, or active only in our Christian communities. We have been commanded by Christ to evangelize the world. It is typical now even for practicing Christians to advise that one not rock the boat. Don’t be too vocal at school or work; don’t be too obviously Christian; don’t risk offending a friend or family member by calling his sins what they are. So we are told.
I am not advising you to be a self-righteous, preachy prig, but we must always stand for truth, contradict lies, condemn evil, and be ready to tell others about our faith and our hope (1 Pet. 3:15). St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”
The angels tell the disciples in Acts of the Apostles that “This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.” Jesus is still with us, and He will return bodily, in all His Divine Glory, at the end of the world.
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