the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the
mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped
him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in
heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Compared with the event of the Ascension of Jesus
recounted in the Acts of the Apostles, today’s gospel seems not giving us much
of the details. For us, who are
conditioned by actions, today’s gospel sounds less dramatic. However, we should give up this “doing”
attitude and read today’s gospel in a contemplative way. If we can do it this way and open ourselves
to the Holy Spirit, we would discover that God reveals himself to us in many
The Ascension of Jesus is a significant moment in
the life of Jesus. It is also a
significant moment in the life of his disciples and in the life of us, who are
followers of Jesus.
For Jesus, the moment of his Ascension signifies
the end of his earthly life. That is why
when Mary tried to touch him in the graveyard on the first day of the week
after the entombment, Jesus told her not to touch him because he had yet go to
the Father. It is the triumph moment in
the life of Jesus, who finished his works and passion on earth, goes into
heaven and to sit at the right hand of the Father.
The Ascension of Jesus also marks the end of the
formation of his community in person. It
is the time of this community to be on its own and to receive his commission of
sending them out to the world.
The Ascension of Jesus denotes how Jesus will
relate with his disciples and us in a different way.
The beginning of today’s gospel reminds us that for
all Christians the beginning of our journey is always in Galilee. The eleven disciples went back to where they
began. Our Galilean experience is our
first encounter with Jesus. We can do
nothing without going back our Galilean experience. Without such an experience, it is impossible
for us to receive such a commission.
Take note of verse 17: “When they saw
him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” Ask myself, do I also doubt? Why I doubt?
There must be something happening deep inside of me. It can be something good. When we are doubt about our faith, it means
God wants us to take our faith seriously.
So go deep inside myself and listen to what God wants to say to me.
Verses 18 and 19 are the commission of Jesus. In commissioning his disciples and us, Jesus
first states his authority to commission.
That is “All
authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Having cited his authority to commission, Jesus
then lies out the mission to be accomplished: Go therefore and make disciples
of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have
The last verse of today’s gospel is very important
to all of us who are charged with this mission.
We should always remember that Jesus is always with us in our ministry. Amen.