Tuesday, May 6, 2008


The eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the hillside to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, though some had doubts. Then Jesus came up and said to them, All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore as you go, disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you all each and every day until the end of the age. Matt. 28 (16-20)

Our opening prayer today tells us: "God our Father, may we follow Him into the new creation." By His physical ascension, Jesus expressed His passage beyond time and space, into eternity, to dwell with the Father and to share His Glory.

In todays' first reading, Jesus tells His Disciples to be His witnesses to the ends of the world. And in the Gospel reading, He tells them to be His teachers to the world. On this day 2000 years ago, Jesus passed on the responsibility for the Kingdom of God to His followers. Jesus commissioned them to complete the work He had begun.

Jesus tells us in today's Gospel: "Make disciples of all the nations; baptize them, and teach them the way of Christ."

There are many ways of carrying out the commission of Jesus. It means to become witnesses and teachers in our homes, in our workplaces, in our schools, in politics and business. We simply have to make an effort to become the kind of persons the Holy Spirit inspires us to be.

We can be witnesses to Jesus and teach others by being loving when others need us, by being patient when others annoy us, by being forgiving when others wrong us, by being honest when others are corrupt and dishonest, by being concerned for public welfare and community interest when others have the kanya-kanya (to-each-his-own) mentality and by persevering when we feel like quitting.

Our lives and actions speak more eloquently than our lips do when it comes to witnessing and teaching. We are called by Jesus to continue His mission. The message of the Ascension is a simple one. Jesus invites us to take the responsibility He received from His Father and to continue the work that His Father gave Him to do on earth.

His work is the witnessing to Jesus and the teaching of other people about Him wherever we find the Holy Spirit inspires us to use. In summary, witnessing to Jesus and teaching others about Him is simply sharing with them our own faith and love. It is sharing with them the one treasure we have to share.

This is what Ascension is all about. It's simply taking seriously Jesus' invitation to be His witnesses to the world and to be His teachers to the nations. "And I will be with you, always, to the end of time." Jesus assures us.

Parish Priest
Cebu City, Philippines