What Are you Standing There Looking at the Sky?

Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord – at least in the diocese in which I currently live.  (I confess a part of me will never get used to the Sunday celebration of what I grew up knowing as “Ascension Thursday.”)

Our first Mass reading records Jesus’ last words to his disciples before he ascends – the commission to be his “witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria,and to the ends of the earth.”  After his Ascension, “while they were looking intently at the sky,” two men dressed in white garments appear to them and ask,

While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?”

Why indeed!  As I’ve probably written before, when I hear those reads, 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.”

As I heard the words this morning, I was reminded of Danielle Rose’s song, Rejoice!, which carries that same sense of the words. Here it is:

Don’t just stand there looking up at the sky.  Go out and proclaim the Gospel to all the world!

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