The Ascension of The Lord – 21 May 2023

I still remember the first time I travelled overseas to pursue my vocation. My heart was heavy and yet excited for what I knew was ahead of me. I asked my sister to look after our parents and to make sure they don’t feel lonely and neglected. I told mom and dad that I love them so much and that I would regularly check on them. I reminded them to be disciplined in taking their medication. I assured my family that I would be okay and though far away, I would exert more effort to still be present to them. I told them I would be just a phone call away.

The readings for this Sunday point to the bodily Ascension of Jesus. The time came for Jesus to leave His earthly family and friends. I imagine how heavy His heart was leaving them. He must have felt their fears, anxieties and even doubts. But He must be excited, too, to go back to His Father. His mission is accomplished but theirs had just started. He inspired them. He commissioned and empowered them to evangelize. He assured them of His abiding love and presence.   

The Ascension of Jesus should awaken our zeal for the mission. We are Jesus’ hands and feet reaching out, touching and feeding those who are hungry and thirsty for faith, hope and love. There is an enormous task to realize. The needs just keep on growing. But we have Jesus. He promised to be with us. He is just a prayer away.

This Sunday is also World Communications Day. Pope Francis encourages us “to go and see” and “to listen” as we “speak with the heart.” There is so much chaos and misunderstanding in our families and in our world today due to lack of good communication. We have to communicate more clearly the Word of God, His truth and love so that peace and harmony can prosper. Prayer is our greatest tool. A heart that truly prays understands better. In prayer, we train our hearts to listen more to God. In doing so, we see more clearly God’s plan for us. This gives us the confidence to go and do what Jesus commands us to do, love.  

Fr Gilbert Ramos

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