First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47: 2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel: Matthew 28: 16-20
This Sunday's first reading and Gospel recount the ascension of Jesus event. Each one is powerful in its own way and presses home a certain theme that demands serious attention.
But, of the two, at this point in my life the first reading truly caught my attention with a short and gut check question from the angels that appear as Jesus ascends:
"While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."- Acts 1:10-11
First of all, did they question them AS Jesus was ascending or did they wait until he was out of sight? I don't like being interrupted. Secondly, wow, what a question after experiencing such a sight, "why are you standing there", as if this is an every day occurrence. Ok maybe the angels weren't impressed but woah! But, why were they standing there?
I starting to think about experiences I've seen in my life that have completely taken my breath away and left me staring, or with my jaw dropped. Or more simply, I thought about amazing movies I've seen that have truly impacted me. What is the first natural reaction we have when we have an experience or see such a movie? We want to talk about it! We want to either find someone who has seen it and talk about it, debate about it, analyze it, OR we want to tell someone how good it was in an attempt to convince them that they need to see it.
Well then, why don't we have that urge with the most important thing in our life, the Gospel? The apostles did not just experience something miraculous and supernatural, they were given marching orders, a great commission right before it happened. I wonder, just how long had they been standing there before the angels spoke up. They were told to head back to Jerusalem and await the Holy Spirit and to baptize the nations and tell them all that Jesus had taught them. For the past three years they had been discipled, not to have cool knowledge or to just be better guys, they were being trained for a mission. Angels were there to wake them up.
So why are we just standing there? Why do we stand there silent when an opportunity arrises to share the Gospel, to pray with someone not later but right then and there, to engage with love, to be the good Samaritan? What is it that holds us back if we have something so good.
What comes to mind is 1 Peter 3:15, "Always be ready to give and explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope". Are we ready? Do we have or know our reason for our hope. Why are do we continue to be Christian. Why do we continue to be Catholic? What got us to this choice in the first place? And once we find it, what good is it if we don't share it.
So now, why are you standing there?