Why are you looking at the Heavens?

Why are you Looking to the Heavens?

Christianity, especially Catholic Christianity, is not a ‘spectator sport’ or, more precisely, not a ‘spectator religion.’ Ours is a religion of ‘action’ — a religion of a people called to active discipleship and evangelization. It is noteworthy during this “Year of Faith” that our last three Popes [John Paul II, Benedict and Francis] all call for a “New Evangelization.” A renewal of the Church’s initial mission to hear, listen and respond to the words of Christ:

“…when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, …
you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”

Immediately following this ‘directive for mission’ Jesus ascends while the Apostles
“were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their site.
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?
Why are you looking at the sky? Were they dismayed? Did they see themselves as abandoned? Was their last hope of salvation leaving them forever? Did they not know what to do next?

Why are you looking at the sky? This question is very important to us — just as important as it was to those Apostles and Disciples two thousand years ago. But they knew precisely what they were doing. They knew the scriptures well and may well have recalled the traditional belief that both Moses and Elijah were taken up to Heaven and that both gave a share of their spirit to their successors. Jesus had just promised them the Spirit. He told them to wait ‘in the city until you are clothed from on high.’ They may well have thought that the Holy Spirit of Christ would descend upon them at any moment.

Why are you looking at the sky? Jesus has promised he will return. This, for us, is a question that doesn’t require an answer – a rhetorical question. The question to which we must respond is: What are you going to do in the meantime? Let’s get started. Follow his direction. Get out and evangelize the world; don’t stand here staring!

The Gospels make it clear that we are to be witnesses to the message of salvation brought by Jesus and that we are to make that message and that ministry our own. His ministry is our ministry. This message has become even more important in our world today. Christ has promised that God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will abide in us if we follow his word and teachings. The Holy Spirit is with us and within us to teach us and remind us of Christ’s teachings and to guide us in this ministry. It is the belief in Christ and in his ministry that will lead us to preach the Good News of the Gospel that will eventually change the life of the world.

So what is the Content of the New Evangelization?

It is the exactly same content that Christ himself preached. It is important that we always proclaim the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, for,

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him might not perish,
but have eternal life. {John 3:16}

So, there we have it. We have only to exemplify in our lives and be heard to proclaim that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son for each and every one of us to have eternal life — that forgiveness of sins and salvation is by Christ alone. Jesus did not only bring us information about God, but he brought us God to indwell in us. He didn’t just tell us about God’s great love, he brought us God’s love. In a world where the belief was in gods that were separate and apart and required blood sacrifices, he brought us the one true God that wants to be close to us, wants an intimate relationship with each of us and demands nothing more than that we love him back and love each other.

Pope John Paul I (1978) put it well:

“It is Jesus Christ alone we must present to the world.
Outside of this, we have no reason to exist.”

~ Deacon Paul

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This entry was posted in Acts, Apostles, Christianity, Commentary, Jesus, Scripture, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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