THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION AND ON BEING A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD

The recent season of Easter gave us a new hope – Jesus had conquered death and with that, gave us a new life, new meaning, new purpose. This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, which leads us into a greater depth of faith, it sends us on a mission, gives us homework. “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures….repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations (Luke 24.47).

Through the apostles, the primary witnesses to his life and teaching, Jesus wishes the message of salvation to be shared, spread as widely as possible. A daunting task, perhaps, but they will have help from the “power from on high” – stay tuned for the gifting of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They really have no excuse, do they, but to give an account for the newfound hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15).

The feast of the Ascension is more than a mere celebration, it is an invitation to share the news of those events of the first Easter. Two thousand years later, we are fortunate to have great means and efficiencies for such a task. Globalization and significant technological progress and diffusion of technology to semi-peripheral and peripheral countries allow many of today’s citizens to be “citizens of the world.” Our reach is great, indeed. Our abilities are ever expansive.

Online fundraising campaigns for victims of sudden tragedies can raise in the thousands of dollars in a matter of a day or two, quite often from people far and wide who never even met the victims.

Recent Amber Alerts sent to wireless devices to broadcast a missing child in a certain geographic area had some successful outcomes, despite complaints from the public over the brief disruption the alarm caused during their sleep.

Technology is wonderful. If used in the right way.

It is fitting that the feast of the Ascension coincides with World Communications Day. The Liturgical Calendar with Guidelines for Pastoral Liturgy states that:

“The media can be used to help promote the Gospel. At the same time, as receivers of the materials presented by the media, the faithful have a duty to support and promote worthwhile presentations on media and reject those which promote values contrary to spiritual growth (Ordo, p. 243).” It seems simple enough.

Amidst the ever-distracting advertisers and product promoters, we have the gift of the Easter faith that Jesus asked us to share with others. We need not be loud or intrusive, in fact, those will likely produce the opposite effect. The most convincing sharing of the faith and of the Gospel is far more subtle: it happens when we make meaningful connections with people, when we strive to be genuine, when we are compassionate, when we love, when we serve the common good. Did Francis of Assisi not say: “preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words”?

Natalia Kononenko, Editor, Living with Christ

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