Jesus, before he ascends into heaven, gives his disciples their marching orders if you will: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Jesus is telling them and us there is work to be done as we teach, or preach, or prophesy, or evangelize, each of us according to our own talents, all of us for building up the Body of Christ.
How have we been doing? Have we been “looking at the sky” or have we been getting on with the work of sharing the Good News?
We are all aware of the mega churches and the notable Evangelists of the past and even present day: Billy Graham, who died recently; Joel Osteen, who was in the area recently at the Times Union Center in Albany; and then there is Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church out west.
One day a Catholic Priest was speaking with Rick Warren and asked him what the secret to his success and that of the Saddleback Church was? With that Rick Warren pulled out a trifold piece of paper with a series of bullet points that were taken from a December 8, 1975 Papal Letter by Pope Paul VI on EVANGELIZATION. (Evangelinii Nuntiandi)
This a the basis of Rick Warren’s success over the years. A Papal document that for some 25 years was ignored by Catholics, but not our Evangelical brothers and sisters. Our Evangelical brothers and sisters “did not stand there looking at the Sky” (Acts 1:11).
Today’s Feast is not about what we did or did not do 40 years ago or even yesterday. Today’s Feast is the reminder again for us as person, family and Parish “to go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel, the Good News to every creature” now, today.
Of course the question that comes to mind is, how can we evangelize, proclaim the Gospel? The ways are many, but let me share just a few from a brochure entitled, “Everyday Evangelizing for Everyday Catholics.” (Which you may pick up as you depart church today.) The brochures are next to all the collection baskets as you depart today (and if you call the Church Offices – we can send a copy to you).
- Begin and end the day with prayer
- Transact all business dealings honestly
- Support Parish leaders
- Send a Mass Card or other card of support to a person
There are lots of other ideas in the brochure available as you leave today. Put another way, there are lots of ways every day for us to proclaim the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ to all we encounter today and every today.
Today’s Feast of the Ascension calls us to act, to live our faith each day according to our personal talents and abilities, something Jesus our Lord and Savior knows we can do!