St. Luke tells the story of Jesus’ ascension into heaven twice – at the end of his gospel and in the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. This is a way of showing us two ways of comprehending the mystery of the Ascension as part of our Easter faith.
Jesus departure from the earth is an “end” in the sense of completion. His ascension concludes his earthly mission and ministry. The Kingdom of God has been ushered into our midst. The repetition of the story of the Ascension in Acts affirms that Jesus’ mission continues with the first believers and through us in the 21st century. Our acts of healing, peace-making, justice, and charity continue the work that Jesus began. The presence and action of the Holy Spirit empowers us and encourages us as salvation history continues.
The mystery of the Ascension challenges us to assume our rightful place and responsibility in the mission Christ began. How do you witness to the Good News of the gospel? How is God calling you to continue what Jesus began?