When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The apostles continue to listen to Jesus’ instructions on waiting. Jesus tells them in the previous verse to wait on the Holy Spirit. However, the apostles are still wondering about the “kingdom of God” at this moment. Now that Jesus is risen, will Israel be restored to her former political glory? The Israelites believed that the Messiah would be a political figure who would save them from foreign rule, aka the Romans. The Messiah was going to be a king. A king who owned land, servants, riches, and nations like King David or his son King Solomon. Even though Jesus came from this bloodline (which is proof of his kingship) he didn’t live like a king. He was a vagabond without a place to repose his head! He was a no name in a very real sense.
Some Christians today even believe that he failed at his mission of establishing a church! This isn’t true. Our eyes mislead us. We gather that the apostles are still clueless as to what the true meaning of the Kingdom of God is. It is not an earthly kingdom like Rome, but a spiritual kingdom within our hearts. It is the place we call home. Home is whenever we are with Jesus in our hearts. Jesus was/is so much more than what “meets the eye.” When you think about Jesus how is he? Have you ever just stopped and wondered about more than the facts? I see him with a radiant grin, laughing out loud, joking with his mother and friends as he teaches them. I see a man as gritty and graceful as they come. A man that would captivate your heart in a beat. The Man. He makes you feel “at home” in his presence.
When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there 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.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
In these last 4 verses we read that Jesus returns to the Kingdom of Heaven. He will come again! This is called the Second Coming (You can read more about it in the book of Revelation). Two men suddenly appear when Jesus ascends to heaven. They seem to be the two men in dazzling robes in Luke 24:4. They are messengers (angels) that encourage the bystanders not to wait around looking up at the sky. Instead, they inspire us to go spread the Gospel.
Reflection: We as Catholic Christian women are called to spread the Gospel! How do we do that though? By living with Jesus in our hearts. His kingdom is our home. How do the citizens of this kingdom live? What virtues do they have? Is it peacefulness? Is it temperance (self-control or moderation of the good)? Fortitude (courage or strength)? Emotional virtue? Jesus is waiting for you to come home to him. Rather than looking for God “out there” look for him inside. Shalom. Xoxo.