The Ascension of The Lord

Have you ever been at a loss for words? Has an experience ever left you speechless? Or has an emotion run so deep words cannot express its meaning? As much as words communicate, so much more is left within the heart. This is one of the key mysteries of life.
To this mystery add the revelation of God. Loving Father. Self-giving Son. The power of the Spirit. So much to express. So few words that do God’s revelation justice. Nonetheless, the inner nature of God was revealed in presence and in power.
In our Gospel today, Matthew presented the eleven apostles receiving a vision of the Risen Lord and the apostolic command. Freed from death, his presence and word had real power, the power of God.
This gospel passage speaks of power: the power of presence and the power of the name. Ancient people placed great weight in presence; the way someone dressed and acted spoke of social power. Ancient people also chose names carefully; they believed a person’s name defined their strength of character. Both outward presence and inward character are part of the disciples’ experience.
The disciples saw the Risen Lord and bowed down in worship. With death vanquished, the limitations of life not longer had hold of Jesus. Jesus was all-powerful, an attribute Jews only gave to God himself. And the disciples witnessed this power, even though they had a touch of skepticism . Their experience of his presence caused wonder, both in awe and in incredulity.
Jesus came to his followers with a royal decree in three parts. First, he declared the obvious; he had the power of God [18]. Second, he gave his disciples the command to go, to teach, and to baptize in the name of God [19]: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Notice their ministry was modeled after Jesus’.) Finally, he insured their success by promising his presence; when they spoke or acted, the disciples did it with the power of God.
In 28:19, Jesus reveals the inner power of God in three names. The three are listed together (expressing the unity of God) and as equals (expressing the all-powerful nature of each). When believers are baptized in the name of the Trinity, they become intimate with all that God is: God above them (Father), God beside them (Son), and God within them (Holy Spirit). With God so close to the faithful, they become God’s instruments.[Living Liturgy 2014]
The risen Christ revealed more than his changed life. His presence showed his followers the power of the Father: the Spirit. When the followers saw the resurrected Lord and heard his command to evangelize the entire world, they saw for themselves the Trinity in action.
When we live as followers of Christ, we invite others to join us not because they see nice people living good lives. No, they, too, see the Trinity in action. For God works through us.