SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD’S ASCENSION
(White) Cycle B/Year I (May 16, 2021)
Acts 1:1-11/Eph 1:17-23/Mk 16:15-20
In the same way that the dying person gives his Last Will and Testament to his beloved, Jesus Christ, in the gospel for this Sunday, tells us – His beloved disciples – His Last Will with these words: “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation” (Mk 16:15b). And just as the family and relatives do their best to realize the Last Will of their dead relative, we too must do our best to fulfill the Last Will of Christ before He ascends to Heaven.
“Proclaim the gospel to all creation.” As followers of Christ, it is our serious duty to carry out the Last Will of Christ before He leaves the earth. We have to do our best to proclaim the gospel of Christ, to make our Lord known to all people, and to offer the salvation brought about by Christ through His Church and the Sacrament of Baptism. To disregard this commandment of Jesus is to show that we do not really love Him and that we are not genuine Christians. For this reason, it is our supreme obligation to do our best to carry out this mandate of Jesus whenever we can and in all means we can use.
The first century Christians proclaimed the gospel of Christ by being faithful to the teachings of Jesus amidst the harassments of the pagan world and by shedding their blood for faith. Thus, the blood of these martyrs had become the seeds of Christianity. The missionaries during the early Christianity, during the middle ages and during the past centuries tried their best to proclaim the gospel of Christ to all parts of the world. With their zeal and faith, many people have been converted and nations have been Christianized. But the price was costly. Just as it took the life of Jesus Christ to save us, so also it took the lives of many missionaries to convert the pagan people and nations. How about us? What are we doing now to respond to the call of Christ?
Indeed, there is no need to literally go to the whole world and proclaim the gospel of Christ like what the missionaries do. What is really asked of us is to carry out the will of Christ in our daily lives. Whatever we do, whether we cook or write, wash the dishes or preach, go to the farm or go to the office, ride a bicycle or drive a car, live in a mountain or live in a city, and so on, as long as we do it in the name of our Lord and for the glory of God, then we proclaim the gospel of Christ. This is what St. Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of the Opus Dei, says: “to sanctify the work, to sanctify ourselves through our work and to sanctify others by our work.” If we do this, we proclaim the gospel of Christ in our works and lives.