In most dioceses, next Sunday is Ascension. The first reading in all of the three year cycle is Luke’s account in the opening of Acts. The author extends the story of the gospel is continue with the story of the apostolic community. Typical of Luke, it is a speech event, and therefore a teaching as a catechetical event. Set speech events are a typical way of doing Greek history. Jesus’ speech ends with the great commission to the community to relate the story of Jesus to the ends of the earth. We’ve not reached the ends of the earth yet. Indeed we ourselves are in need of hearing this story and receiving it into our lives. Evangelization is about witnessing by actions, not necessarily words.

The actual ascension is in one succinct verse. The rest is the “men in white” exhorting them to move on. Immediately they return to Jerusalem to begin the great work. Hence, the Ascension is connected with the Pentecost event and by extension the birth of the Church.

“Standing there looking up at the sky” I take to mean a sort of spiritual navel gazing, gobsmacked and frozen, not moved to do the work. Sound familiar like the Church today?

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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