Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11
In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But 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.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
Brothers and sisters, I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, it says: He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men. What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended into the lower regions of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
Jesus returns to the Father. We are coming to the end of this great cycle of the Resurrection and now we see Jesus return to His Father. The scriptures are no so clear about what happened. The Acts of the Apostles gives us the clearest picture. The other accounts just sort of have Jesus go to the Father.
It is really important for us to recognize that Jesus appeared to His followers, but not even to all of them, after His Resurrection. He does signs and speaks to them. He eats with them. He tells them about how to live. The most important thing is that He assures them that He is alive and with the Father. Now He goes away again.
Jesus tells us clearly the He goes so that He can send His Holy Spirit on us. We must now learn to live in the Holy Spirit and to call on the Holy Spirit to help us. It is the Holy Spirit who will teach us the truth about our faith.
Jesus tells us that if we believe, great events will happen. Most of us are pretty weak in our faith and truly afraid that something might happen. We can be afraid to believe because we will appear strange to those who do not believe. We can be afraid to ask for miracles because we will foolish if they do not happen. Jesus tells us over and over: do not be afraid. Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find.
The Gospel of Mark today tells us what the early believers did because they believed in Him. You are I are invited to believe and to let the Holy Spirit act through us.
The Letter to the Ephesians tells us that God will work in each of us in different ways. We simply must believe and let God work in us in any way that He wants. If He wants miracles through us, He can do that. If he wants us simply to live in His presence, He can do that. If he wants us to be apostles of love and charity, He will do that within us.
Let us call on the Holy Spirit today and ask that we will do whatever God wants of us.