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Thursday, May 13, 1999

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Acts 1:1-11
Ephesians 1:17-23
Psalm 47
Matthew 28:16-20

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look up and go out

"No sooner had He said this than He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight." —Acts 1:9

The apostles asked Jesus: "Lord, are you going to restore the rule to Israel now?" (Acts 1:6) They were interested in knowing the time Jesus would restore the kingdom. Jesus responded: "The exact time it is not yours to know" (Acts 1:7). Then Jesus proceeded to bring up what He was interested in — not so much the time but the persons responsible for restoring the kingdom. The apostles had assumed Jesus would do the restoring. Jesus shocked them by asserting that they were to do the job. Before the apostles could try to shift the responsibility back onto Jesus, He ascended, leaving the apostles "holding the bag,"  that is, having the responsibility of making disciples of all the nations (see Mt 28:19). However, Jesus did not leave His Church responsible but powerless. He promised us the Spirit's power (Acts 1:8) and His presence "always, until the end of the world!" (Mt 28:20)

Jesus' Ascension means that we, the members of the Church, take up where Jesus has left off. The responsibility for evangelizing the world is ours; the power of the Holy Spirit is ours; and the privilege of living and dying for His kingdom is ours. Because He has gone up, we must go out. Go now.

Prayer:  "God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory" grant us "a spirit of wisdom and insight to know" You clearly (Eph 1:17).

Promise:  "He has put all things under Christ's feet and has made Him, thus exalted, Head of the Church, which is His body: the fullness of Him Who fills the universe in all its parts." —Eph 1:22-23

Praise:  "God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our King, sing praise" (Ps 47:6-7).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, October 9, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 17, 1998