Gospel Reflection of May 24, 2020 – Feast of the Ascension

Scripture Readings: Acts 1.1-11; Ephesians 1.17-23; Matthew 28.16-20

“Remember that I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 29.20

In Matthew’s resurrection story, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses go to the Jesus’ tomb. An angel rolls back the stone for the two women who see the tomb is empty. The angel announces Jesus has been raised as he said and is going ahead to Galilee where they will see him. The women set off to tell the other disciples. On their way the risen Jesus appears to them and charges them to tell his brothers to go to Galilee. So the women set off again, setting up the final scene of Matthew’s gospel, Sunday’s gospel reading.

In his final action Jesus commissions his key disciples to extend his mission beyond Israel to all peoples. In this farewell commission Jesus charges the eleven to keep teaching and challenge all people to learn and live the word he first taught in Galilee in the sermon on the mount—bless the poor, to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love one’s enemies as well as one’s friends, family, and neighbors, care for the least as they would him. Matthew wants Christians to see Jesus as the new Moses, the new authoritative teacher and lawgiver for the new era.

The eleven disciples go to Galilee at the women’s direction. The women animate these men disciples who fled at Jesus’ arrest. Some of the eleven doubt even as the risen Jesus commissions them. We know they did take up Jesus’ mission.

What sermon does your Christian life teach? Who do you see energizing Jesus’ mission in our world today?