By Sr Nancy Usselmann, FSP
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them,
was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
~ Mark 16:19
When the Church celebrates the Ascension of our Lord into heaven, we are reminded that Jesus leaves his disciples with signs of assurance that he is with them.
We use signs to communicate. Signs are gestures or images that convey instructions or information. A digital hand wave or a praying hands emoji lets people know we are thinking of and praying for them. Or we may leave a note around the house to let others know we love them or to encourage a family member in a new job. Signs are powerful means to convey our heartfelt emotions and our loving presence.
Media use signs to tell stories that can speak to authentic human living. Today the Church also celebrates World Communications Day in which Pope Francis encourages everyone to consider “Communicating by encountering people as and where they are.” Signs and symbols are ways that we assure people of our presence and attention, especially through hugs, smiles, and eye contact.
The greatest sign Jesus leaves his disciples after his Resurrection of the assurance of his continuing presence is the gift of the Holy Spirit, who gives the ability to preach the gospel. Certain signs will accompany all who believe in Jesus’ name: demons will be cast out, new languages spoken, no harm from serpents or poisons, the sick will recover after the laying on of hands. Jesus’ power works in and through all who truly believe. He is with us for all time and eternity, present in his disciples who proclaim the gospel to the world.
This eternal truth can assure our restless hearts. Jesus is at work in our world today, even when all we see are signs of evil having the upper hand. Miracles happen for all who truly believe and are the signs that Jesus Christ is Lord and Master of the universe and of all hearts. We can rest assured in this truth no matter what may try to disturb our peace. He is with us!
Jesus, thank you for the assurance of your presence with me today. Let me be attentive to your Holy Spirit at work in me, calling me to be an evangelizer of the gospel, a proclaimer of the Resurrection. This is the Good News the world longs to hear. May I be the sign of your presence and the instrument of your love to all with whom I encounter.
Call to Action
Today let us do one thing that proclaims the Good News of the gospel to the world. It can be social media post, an online Scripture reading, a catechetical explanation of the faith to a child, or a phone call to someone who needs a word of hope. Let’s be Jesus’ sign of his presence for others!
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