May 21 reflection by Deacon Dan

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Ascension of the Lord
Matthew 28:16-20

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Ascension of the Lord – Jesus’s last day on earth. Some parishes or dioceses will celebrate this feast on Sunday.

Final words in life carry a lot of weight. It is common to be curious what someone’s last words were because they may sum up a persons’ deepest thoughts. Some can be confessions of regret, others can be final pearls of wisdom or messages of how much they love another.

Some believe that Christ spoke his final words on the cross at Calvary when he said “It is finished”, but as we know, he rose three days later and spent 40 days with his believers explaining and clarifying the truth. The words we hear in today’s gospel were his last words, his Great Commission: “All the power in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold that I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

In his final words, Christ gives us two final commands – baptize and teach others to follow his commandments. If you have not been baptized, or you have children or a loved one who has not been baptized, please do all you can to get baptized or encourage others to get baptized as soon as possible. Baptism leaves a mark on your soul that tells Jesus you heard what he said and that you are a believer. Christ has been given all the power in heaven – he can do anything with that power – and his top request is that we baptize and teach! He raised others from the dead, cured the blind, expelled demons – but these are not nearly as important as baptism and teaching others what he taught us.

Jesus did not leave his followers with an emotional good-bye like we have here. As humans, we get sad because we will miss the presence of the other person. Jesus is not sad or emotional, because he knows he will see those who believe in him and he knows the parting is temporary. He also knows that we will have the Holy Spirit with us to guide us.

Today let us reflect on Christ’s final words to us: baptize and teach. Let us pray that all the unbaptized will hear Christ’s call and will join our Christian Family. Let us also pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to be living examples of what Christ wants us to be – individuals who love God and love our neighbor.

May God Bless each of you.

– Deacon Dan