Saying ‘goodbye’ is never easy. Before my son, Justin, left for his 4th deployment with the Marines, he sat down with his two and a half year old son, Kyle, and told him that he would be gone for a while. The conversation went something like this: “Hey buddy, daddy has to go away again to fly his helicopter. Where are you going? I have to go fight some bad guys. Like a superhero does? Yes, like a superhero and I get to help people too. Can I go with you? No, I’m sorry buddy, I need you to stay home and take care of mommy and Dane (his 10 month old brother.) Can you do that?”
Today is the Solemnity of the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. A day when we remember and celebrate Jesus returning to Heaven after His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Just before He left, Jesus told his Apostles to go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel. To be fearless against those who want to harm you. To heal the sick and drive away evil. And they did! The Gospel tells us they went forth and preached everywhere with God working through them and in everything they did.
I sometimes wonder what went through those Apostles minds when Jesus told them ‘goodbye’. Did they understand what was in front of them? What Jesus commissioned them to do? Were they afraid and want to go with Him? After all, over the past two months, they had celebrated the Passover with Jesus in Jerusalem, witnessed his unjust conviction and horrible death. They were elated with joy seeing him risen from the dead. Then walked and talked and ate with Him. And now, Jesus is leaving again. Like Kyle, were they thinking “how can this be? Wait! Don’t leave me behind! I want to go too!” We may never know, but we do know those Apostles stayed back and fearlessly spread the Good News.
As we celebrate the Ascension, let’s take a moment and reflect on the Apostles – their bravery and courage. Their passion for their faith. Their ultimate obedience to God to take Jesus’ message of mercy and compassion and peace, and spread it throughout the world, even though it cost them their lives. Without their tireless efforts, we would not know God and not be saved. Like Kyle, the Apostles had to wonder why Jesus was leaving. But, like Kyle, they stayed behind to take care of us. Now, it is our turn to do the same for future generations. Can we do it? Have a Blessed week sharing your faith for the Lord!