With the feast of the ascension of the Lord that we celebrate today, we come to the end of Jesus’ earthly life. Having journeyed with his Apostles through his suffering, death, and the joy of his resurrection, he entrusted his earthly ministry to them. By their Apostolic ministry on earth, they will continue his presence, and experience it. Mathew is attentive to this Apostolic continuation of Jesus’ ministry in his believing community, by how he reports the words of Jesus to his disciples, “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations…And know that I am with you always to the close of the age.” These words resonate with our present events in life which are causing pain, trauma, and even the struggle. But as Jesus promises, he is with us always even in the midst of the life challenges this year. And as Jesus hands over his authority to his disciples, he is also handing over to us to become missionary disciples of love, mercy, forgiveness, and joy. Will this make sense to the families struggling with covid19 and other conflicts? In the first reading, Jesus has taught his disciples, now they can also go forth and teach. He taught us to love, we can also teach our children to love and forgive.
Paul recites a hymn and then narrates on the action initiated by God himself to his faith community in his son Jesus, and through the Spirit; and by that, God has given us hope to join our head where he goes. More importantly, the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ marks the handover to us, but first of all the handover to the Father. Let us join the Psalmist in the hymn of joy because the Lord goes up to hand us over to his Father. He will together handover our present struggle with the virus pandemic, locusts’ invasions, family tensions, and even the closed doors of our churches. He goes up with shouts of joy, and ready to hand over our life situation. Courage, and hope! joy and peace.