Why Are you Standing There?

While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
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.”

Today’s first Mass reading from Acts records Jesus’ last words to his disciples and his ascension into heaven. The language above immediately follows Jesus’ ascension.

Jesus gave his disciples a charge before he left them: Go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel; make disciples of all nations. The angels words are a reminder of that charge. When I hear those words, what I hear is: What are you doing standing around here? You have work do to. Don’t be looking up there – he’s not going to be doing the heavy lifting from now on – he’ll come back in his own time. Right now it’s up to you.

We have been given of the same Spirit as the disciples. And we’ve been given the same charge. As John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic exhortation, Christifideles Laici: “The entire mission of the Church, then, is concentrated and manifested in evangelization. Through the winding passages of history the Church has made her way under the grace and the command of Jesus Christ: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” …and lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age”….

Don’t just stand there looking up at the sky. Celebrate Christ’s Ascension as he instructed us to do.