Has Anyone Seen or Learned the Love of Christ from You?
By Father John Slampak, STL

Throughout the Easter season, the appearances of the Risen Christ are presented. Each time he appears, Jesus offers his peace and basically says, “Look at me, I’m real.” Then he opens their minds to his message.

There is one very little word that dramatizes and summarizes the Ascension: up.

Up and coming — wake up — up and up — get up — update — heat up coffee — upright — pick up paper — uproar — hurry up to the bus — work up — upset — open up the door — upstart — open up the mail — uptight — boot up the computer — up to date — close up — shop uptown — drive up the road — upside down — find out what’s up at home.

Up is about movement; something’s going on.

In the Scriptures there is no description of where up is. As a matter of fact, St. Luke indicates that the Apostles were looking in the wrong direction. “Why are you standing there looking at the sky?”

Whatever they were looking and hoping for, neither Luke nor the Apostles had the astrophysical terminology to explain Jesus’ ascension.

So they used simple terms, “taken up” and “lifted up,” to explain that Jesus had to go up, so that the Holy Spirit could come down, and the Apostles could go out.

In the Gospel, Jesus does not give his disciples a chance to get stiff necks by watching him go up into the heavens. He gives them their earthly agenda: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

It is time to get up and go. Jesus taught the Apostles all he could, now they had to go, and do what God wanted.

What is it that God wants of you? Johann Bach, a great musician, did not think his talent was so unusual. When someone commented on his great skills with the organ, he said, “There is nothing remarkable about it at all ... all one has to do is hit the right notes, at the right time, and the instrument plays itself.”

But, carry his point this way — if you let yourself become a human instrument, and let God hit the right note at the right time, great things happen in your life.

When you are in touch with God, seeking to do His will, God can use the gift you possess

... the gift to find the truth (leading to God);

... the gift to listen, not necessarily to solve (you are not alone)

... the gift to bear an illness (compassion)

... the gift to let someone help you (Veronica)

... the gift of being forgiving (grace everyone has)

... the gift of always finding the positive (saints)

... the gift of being able to step aside (applause)

Will there be anyone in heaven because of you?

And Jesus promises them, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”