The Ascension of the Lord

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Matthew 28:16-20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
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.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

In this reading, Jesus declares a truth about Himself, then gives a command and makes a promise.

The truth He declares is that all power in heaven and earth have been given to Him. Of course. He has just been raised from the dead. What holds Him back? Nothing. What is not within His power? Nothing. He has defeated death, the great enemy, which is now a great friend because it is the passage to the kingdom. In defeating death, He has defeated everything that stands in His and our way to the kingdom.

The command He gives is to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that He has commanded us. This is more than simply going through a ritual, a naming exercise. It is to make one a Christian by baptism and, in doing so, taking on the responsibility to raise them in righteousness. For Catholics, this usually means taking on the responsibility of parents toward their children in being the first educators of their children in the gospel and in the life of Christ. We’re not simply to baptize them and leave it at that, or hand them off to the parochial school or CCD program. It is our responsibility to make them disciples, believers who put their faith and hope in Christ and are inspired to live lives that give God glory.

The promise, of course, is that Jesus will be with us until the end of the age. That is not a hollow promise. It is our guiding light and our strength. Jesus is who we rely on as we navigate the currents of this temporal order. His promise that He will be with us is the foundation on which we build our hope for new life. The most magnificent way He is with us is in the Eucharist. His Real Presence in the Eucharist is our food for the journey. We participate in His passion, death, resurrection, and ascension at every Mass and are nourished by Him, the bread of life.

Health update: I am beginning home hemodialysis tomorrow morning. When my training week at home is complete, I’ll begin working my day shifts at the hospital and do hemodialysis in the evenings, four days a week for three hours each day. I can’t express enough gratitude to the nurses and techs who have trained me over the last six weeks. On Friday, my dialysis fistula was surgically placed. After six to eight weeks, when it is mature, I’ll go through another two weeks of training on how to access the fistula. After that, I’ll pretty much be on my own. Some have asked me about donating a kidney. Thank you. I’m still waiting to hear from UT hospital, which manages all the transplants, about what is required of donors. I’ll update that here.

Some of you know that my kidneys have not been my only health issue over these weeks and months. I’ve also suffered several bouts of diverticulitis, which have been very painful. In fact, I was just released from the hospital today after enduring severe abdominal pain that they confirmed was yet another flare up of the diverticulitis. I saw a GI specialist this time in the ER and she recommended that, after I finish some weeks of antibiotics and then give my bowels time to rest, I get a colonoscopy to see how large an area of my bowel is consumed by the diverticula, and then arrange to see a surgeon to have that section of my bowel removed. She said the number of flare ups I’ve had justifies this, and if I don’t do this, it will only continue and likely get worse, with significant risk of a perforated bowel.

Prayers, please!

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

3 thoughts on “The Ascension of the Lord

  1. Praying for you, dear one. Our Son is having colonoscopy for diagnosis this Thursday. Will be praying for you both diligently.

    Liked by 1 person

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