Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Why are You Standing There Looking at the Sky"

Then the angels appear and say, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing and 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." (Acts 12:11)

In the Acts of the Apostles Jesus promises the power of the Holy Spirit, " will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8) Then right after saying these words, He ascends to heaven in all His glory, right before their very eyes. We can only imagine the look of awe and surprise on their faces as they watch Jesus ascend into the sky. Their mouths must have been wide open as they were staring into the heavens looking for Jesus.

The Catholic Church commemorates this special event with the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. The Ascension of Jesus completes his earthly ministry. For three years he taught and showed the love of God for all people. He reached out and healed those who were sick and in pain and he called sinners back to a relationship with God. He paid the ultimate price and showed us the full extent of God's mercy when He allowed himself to be crucified on the Cross of Calvary so that we might obtain eternal happiness with our God in heaven. Then He rose again from the dead on Easter Sunday morning and spent the next fifty days with His disciples teaching them further about what God expected of them in order that the good news of salvation would be spread to the whole world.

"....why are you standing there looking at the sky?" The angel's words for the disciples are meant for us today. What the angel is telling us is, "Don't worry; you are not alone as you work to bring the good news of Jesus to others." Jesus had just reassured His disciples that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit would be given them so they would be able to bring the good news of salvation to the ends of the earth. His promise was fulfilled at Pentecost.

As Catholic Christians, we also received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit on the day of our Confirmation. As a result we are expected to share the faith we have in the Risen Christ with our neighbors, friends and coworkers. It is a work that is constant and never ending. We can do this by being loving, caring, generous, honest and trustworthy people and by working together with members of the Holy Name Society to spread the goods news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

As members of the Confraternity of the Holy Name of God and Jesus, we are called in a special way to follow the command of Jesus, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15). Professed members of this spiritual Confraternity know what to do, so lets never be found "standing there looking.." like we do not know what to or are afraid of what to do!

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

Deacon Thomas R. Tortorella
Associate Director
Archdiocesan Union of the Holy Name Society of New York

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