For the past several years, Bishop Fabbro has consistently reminded the people of the Diocese of London that we are a missionary church, that forms disciples of Jesus Christ. This Sunday, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, we see Jesus inaugurating that mission as he speaks to his disciples before he ascends into heaven.
The instructions that Jesus gives to the disciples are quite clear. In our first reading, he tells the disciples that after they receive the Holy Spirit, they are to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. In the Gospel, he tells them to go and make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to observe all that Jesus taught and commanded.
This mission requires us to be active and intentional in the way we live out our faith. We cannot simply stare at the sky, waiting for Jesus to return. We need to carry out the work that Jesus has entrusted to us, so that when he does come again in glory, we are ready to meet him.
It is important to remember that we do not have to carry out this mission as individuals. We are a community of believers, made into one Body in Christ by the Holy Spirit. It is this same Spirit that guides us, and helps us to discern how God is calling us to give witness to the Gospel. For each of us, that work will look different, depending on the unique circumstances of our lives. This is why it is so important to rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to allow the Spirit to help us discern the ways in which God is leading us to live out our mission as Disciples.
Just as the disciples spent time in prayer between the Ascension of the Lord and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, I invite you to pray for a renewed sense of the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your own lives. That way, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost next weekend, we can be renewed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. A simple prayer you can say is “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.” May we all be enriched by the presence of the Spirit in our lives.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB