On this day, the 40th day after his resurrection, Jesus summoned his disciples and “took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, to the Mount of Olives, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he blessed them.” (Lk 24,50) Then he said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16,15)

Dear friends, this is how our Catholic Church started, with, let’s say, about 144 people, to take a symbolic number. They felt so unprepared that, after Jesus went up to heaven, they stayed there, looking up, as if they were expecting him to come back. They would, maybe, spend the rest of the day there, but two men in white were standing near them and they said, “Why are you men from Galilee, standing here looking into the sky?” (Acts 1, 11)

They were feeling so unprepared. But they failed to remember his promise: “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of the world.” (Mt 28 20) They missed the point that the risen Jesus is now everywhere, all the time, working in them, with them, through them.

They felt they were not ready enough, but they were not paying enough attention to his promise before leaving them. Not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised, What you have heard me speak about: John baptized with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Ac1,4-5)

“And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the world.” (Acts 1, 8) After being my followers, learning how to be disciples, how to behave, how to show how well you have learned from me, you must go now and live the kind of life those who claim to be called Christians, should live. We must also do our best to help, those around us who are not as fortunate as we are, to know better, to try little by little, to amend their lives and change their behavior. Christians, believers in Christ Jesus should, as St. Paul said to Timothy: “Before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching. The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths. Be careful always to choose the right course; be brave under trials; make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work, in thoroughgoing service.” (2 Tim 4, 1-5)

We can do this and the time is right now. We have received the Holy Spirit as a gift. We have the responsibility to show that he is real, he has power, and he is still the same given to the Apostles. Any gift is given to be proven. If you are a devoted and engaged member of your church, try harder to be a good and faithful teacher to your children. Try to find a group where you can be active so that your kids may learn to be engaged. When we feel we have duties and responsibilities in our Christian community, we leave footprints for others to walk behind us.

To conclude, I am taking this quote from Preachers’ Exchange: Thomas Troeger, the Presbyterian preacher and homiletician, in a sermon preached on Ascension Day, wrote: “Has anything really changed? What difference does our faith make? When will things come together in some whole and enduring pattern? Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” (From “The Second Coming”)

We are the light of the world. Let’s take our responsibilities more seriously, so that we may stop letting those in darkness become our leaders and we, their followers. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?