- Ready for the mission
- (Acts I, 1-11 and Luke
During the Holy week liturgy, we are turned over and overwhelmed
with compassion by the readings about the last days of Jesus,
his Passion ending with his crucifixion and his death.
If, by faith, we already know ourselves what follows afterwards,
the infamous death of Jesus first completely distressed his disciples
and put them in a state of utter disarray. They had lived the
unique experience of an exceptional personality who has transformed
their life and opened new perspectives on God that they could
never believe were possible. How could this brutal end not stagger
In the episode of the two disciples of Emmaus on their way
from Jerusalem to a place we even don't know, we can see their
distress and the loss of their incredible hope.
Then, progressively, first from a few women coming back from
the tomb then from others, there came the feeling that what had
happened is the beginning and not the end, that Jesus is living
in some ways beyond his death. Sure it is not as before, we will
not walk with him on the roads of Palestine, and we will not
share in the same way with him the daily matters. He is not exactly
the same. He comes and mysteriously disappears. Probably at first
the disciples were hesitating between the hope that every things
would be as before or that there would be a different and mysterious
lasting presence of Jesus.
- Then came the episode of the Ascension as presented by
Luke in his Gospel and Acts of Apostles. After being seen several
times by his disciples, Jesus, a short time after his resurrection,
was not seen again:" When he was blessing them, he parted
from them and was ascended into heaven " (Luke, 24, 51).
In the Acts, Luke gives more information: "Before them,
he was taken by a cloud that hid him from their sight. As they
were searching for him by looking up at the sky, two messengers
said to them: Galileans, why are you staying there looking at
the sky? "(Acts, 1, 9-11).
What has happened exactly? What can we know about the heaven
where Jesus has been sent close to his Father? Never mind. After
all, Luke's writings are dealing with the disciples and us. The
episode of the Ascension is an other way to tell us and to the
disciples: don't look back, give the visible and comfortable
presence of Jesus for lost, it is your turn to face your fate
and be ready to go forward.
They cannot rely any more on their Master who was directing
them and taking all the responsibilities.
From now on, they are left alone but felt strong of the confidence
that Jesus put in them.
- Also they received some help, weak as a breath, from what
they named the Spirit, that they experienced on Pentecost day
and afterwards. They would not look anymore towards the sky but
towards the people, men and women, from all nations and races,
to receive the Good News.
We are said in the book of Genesis that during the last phase
of the Creation, God stopped to act, came to a rest, and let
the humans take responsibility of the world. In a similar way,
Jesus went away, letting his disciples take charge and privilege
of humanizing the world at the image of God. That is our mission.