Sunday, May 8, 2016

“We have largely lost sight of the holiness and purity of God today. This is one reason why we tolerate sin so easily.”

Gospel Text: (LK 24:46-53)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you;
but stay in the city
until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany,
raised his hands, and blessed them.
As he blessed them he parted from them
and was taken up to heaven.
They did him homage
and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Today the church celebrates the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. In a way, we are invited to make an “ascension” in our life now. We are called to come closer to God. We are called to be more faithful disciples of Christ. We are called to “ascend” to holiness. We also know that ascension to holiness does not happen in one, uninterrupted, straight line of spiritual progress. There can be obstacles, setbacks, and surprises.

To ascend to holiness involves trust in the love that God has for us in Jesus Christ.

To ascend to holiness involves a willingness to let go of whatever takes us away from God.

To ascend to holiness also involves reaching outside of ourselves. We are not to be only concerned with our ascent, but the ascent of others as well.

Listen to Jesus’ final words to his disciples before ascending to his Father as recorded in Acts of the Apostles:  “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

What kind of a world would we have if we acted on that belief? Would that be too much to hope for?

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