When Jesus was being taken into heaven, it appeared to his disciples to be over. He was no longer going to be physically among them and he told them his mission was accomplished.
In reality, however, it was far from being over. For, at his Ascension, Jesus passed the baton. It was now the disciple’s time to act and “to shine.” THE mission was now theirs to continue and God’s power and all authority were theirs to use. In other words, Jesus’ ascension into heaven was not an ending of anything. It was a changing of the guard and a broadening of the sights of those who had followed him. And of those who would follow him in the future.
So the above question is not a rhetorical one. Why are you standing there? And why are your heads in the clouds? What’s got you stuck?
Those questions are ours to answer. After all, witnessing to Christ and to his continuing saving and healing presence in the world is the work entrusted to those/us who’ve been called by Christ and are baptized into his death and resurrection.
Of course, one everyday way we witness to Christ is in the choices we make: in our decisions to act or in our refusing to do something because it’s not right or just. We can’t forget that our indifference is actually a choice. Too often, we are “leaving it up to others” to do what is ours to do. “Let Mikey do it” (from the old Life cereal commercial) we tell ourselves. Unfortunately, Mickey doesn’t always come through.
A few years back, I was talking with a mother who admitted in casual conversation that she missed services on Easter Sunday because of a tournament for a travel team her son played on. It got me thinking: “Why are we Christians not standing up to those who are scheduling these games on our high holy day– and why are we not saying “no” to those who are “committing” us to do things that take us away from the service we owe to God (as our love response) – and from nurturing those bonds in our lives that are lasting? Are we not called to influence the culture – that is, to help it be better than what it is and change it where it is corrupt? It’s not supposed to be the other way around.
So, in the words of St Leo the Great (pope from 440-461) in his great Christmas sermon: “Christians, remember your dignity!”
Said differently: So, disciples, let’s get with it and let’s get on with it.
Joe Lehman is the Pastor at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church located
at 2505 Electric Rd (Rte 419. Visit them on the web at: www.oln-parish.org