“As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.“
The early apostles and disciples were so blessed to have walked the earth with Jesus. They were his friends; they knew what his favorite foods were, what could make him laugh and cry, and they learned, directly from His lips, what was needed to be in union with God. Some embraced his teachings, some hung around for food and the “show”, while others walked away completely when he explained exactly what was required to have eternal life.
Was being there in person, a blessing or a curse?
Imagine being able to physically be with the risen Christ after his resurrection and to actually witness His Ascension into heaven. Miraculous events that should have forever changed their lives, their friends and family’s lives, as well as the entire world. Right?
In Acts, we hear how the men kept staring up at the clouds after Jesus went behind the clouds. It was as if they were waiting for something more and they were. That very day He had told them, “I will send you the Advocate, who will strengthen you and remind you of all that I have taught you.” He made them wait ten days but the Holy Spirit did arrive and the new Church was born.
Now, centuries later, are we still staring at an empty sky?
The written collection known as the Acts of the Apostles shares some of the historic happenings that came after the Ascension. Jesus’ physical body was gone from the earth but what remained behind was transformational. His spiritual presence, in the being of the Holy Spirit, enflames the souls of believers. Through the mental impressions He left in the minds of His disciples they were able to record His explicit directions, left for all mankind, guiding us to the work that is needed for the continuation of the holy mission of God.
The mission is not, and never was to just stare at the sky, waiting for Jesus to return. Jesus is with us in the form of the Advocate He promised to the disciples. The Teacher, held three years of lessons with a hand selected group of students. He taught them how to pray so that they in turn could teach the world. He desires us to remain in constant communication with Him and to use these thoughts and words to form acts of service to Him. To make our work simple to remember, He summed up the lessons in one simple commandment, with only three components. “Love your God with your whole being and love your neighbor as yourself. Guided by the Spirit, we should be way too busy loving one another to worry about when the teacher will physically return.
As we reflect on the lessons given to us, we should remember that we are called to apply these truths to our everyday lives. Proof that knowing without action is like staring at an empty sky or carrying around an empty promise; both will leave you wanting more.
If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others.
Anthony “Tony” Boquet, the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary” and Parishioner of St. Philip Catholic Church