Ascension of Our Lord

Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.  It is the day the Church celebrates Christ’s ascension to sit by his Father’s side. The mental image we have is that Christ simply “floated” into heaven.  In a homily I once heard, the homilist spoke of a child’s interpretation of the Ascension. For when preaching to group of very young children on this Solemnity several years ago, he asked the children what they thought the disciples saw when he ascended.
One little boy answered innocently, “I see the bottom of Jesus’ feet!”  Apparently, Salvador Dali felt the same way.
But today’s Solemnity is about more than the Ascension itself. We can find Jesus’ command to all of us in the Gospel reading. 
“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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)  
Make disciples of all nations.  Wow!  What an undertaking.  Yet, as baptized Christians, that is what Jesus commands of us.  Are we expected to travel to the far corners of the earth and share the Good News with all God’s people?  No, but there are many who do so through their missionary calling.  All we have to do is begin right in our homes.  If we share the passion we have for our faith with our families and then our friends, then they will go forward and share with additional friends and family.
This feast is an invitation to us to preach the gospel by the way we live. The most effective preaching is the goodness of our own lives. When we reach out with comforting words that heal broken hearts, when we reach out with strong hands to lift up the discouraged, when we act with integrity that makes clear to whom we belong, we preach the gospel of Jesus.
Jesus started with 12 disciples, then he commissioned the 72 (Luke 10) and so on and so forth.  Our love of Christ and our faith shouldn’t leave us standing there looking up at the sky and searching for the bottoms of his feet.  But we are to shout from the mountain tops with passion and love.  This way of living calls us to surrender ourselves into the Father’s hands.