Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
According to St. Luke, the Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost are three temporally distinct stages, which extended over a period of 50 days. The Ascension is stage two, and it separates the earthly era of Christ from the age of the Holy Spirit.
The ten days between the Ascension and Pentecost gave the disciples time to pray and to reflect before taking up Christ’s mandate, according to St. Matthew, to become missionaries and to evangelize all nations, to baptize, and to teach the faith.
We believe that Jesus rose from the dead to die no more. So, where did He go when he vanished from the disciples’ sight? In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict wrote,
The departing Jesus does not make his way to some distant star. He enters into communion of power and life with the living God, into God’s dominion over space. Hence he has not ‘gone away,’ but now and forever by God’s own power he is present with us and for us.
Christ gave the disciples courage by saying He would be with them until the end of time. Now, during our time, it is our turn to be witnesses of the Gospel. How can we do this? Here’s what I once heard from Fr. Moroney, a retired priest of our diocese, Sacramento:
- To witness to the Truth, be faithful.
- To witness to Justice, act justly.
- To witness to Love, act lovingly by respecting others.