Appearances of Jesus // Ascension into Heaven

Images by Alyssa Marie Francis

Images by Alyssa Marie Francis

Luke 24:50-53 Acts 1:6-12 Mark 16:19-20 Matthew 28:16-20

When you think about Jesus’ Ascension, it feels like the story is unfinished. Jesus is ascended into heaven, but the disciples are left in a daze, thinking “What do we do now?” Thankfully, the angels reminded the apostles about the mission: “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.“ With the promise that Jesus will return, the apostles realize that their mission is to wait for the Holy Spirit to come and then go out to the world to spread the Gospel.

So the question many people have right now is: Why hasn’t Jesus come back yet?

We all know that the Lord works in mysterious ways. And there’s a bit of an answer in the Second Letter of Peter.

“With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.” 2 Peter 3:8-10

The story is just beginning and it’s been continuing for the past couple of millennia. The best part is we get to play a part in God’s story right now. We are called to follow in the footsteps of the disciples, to share the Gospel with everyone we know.

There are many ways that we can share the Gospel, one of which is sharing bible study reflections like this one. However, I’ve learned from my experience that the best way to evangelizing is to show the beauty of the Church through our passions. One of my favorite priests, Fr. Roderick, gives a great example of this.

Fr. Roderick was a Star Wars fan ever since he was a kid.  When the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, he created a reaction video that instantly went viral and caught the attention of people who wouldn’t usually darken the door of a church, including atheists who couldn’t help but feel a connection. When you watch the video, you can see the genuine excitement and enthusiasm, the pure joy that comes from his heart. It’s this authentic love that can make people wonder “How can I have that joy in my life?”

Leading a life of joy might just be the best way to show others what being a Christian is like. No, we’re not going to be perfect, but the ones who are searching will see the beauty of our lives and eventually long for the source of our joy and beauty. That joy and the ultimate beauty is nothing less than Jesus Christ. Evangelization is a service and we must have a servant’s heart in order to touch the hearts of others.

Reflections: How do you spread the good news to those who aren’t familiar with Christianity? What would you say to someone who would ask why you’re a Christian?

Action: Read Fr. Roderick’s memoir Geekpriest as it gives tips on evangelizing to people outside of the church.