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Not uncommon these days that we may see video clips of departing OFWs at the airport with their family. It is particularly heartbreaking to see little children crying & clinging to bid farewell to their beloved parent who may have been with them for awhile and now will be absent again, all because of the sacrifices-needed for the greater good and better life to be accomplished.

In our gospel today, it is said that “As he has blessed them, Jesus parted from them and was taken to heaven.” Our Christian faith proclaims the Ascension of the Lord into heaven whenever we profess in our Apostles’ creed, ‘He ascended into heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father.” In claiming His rightful place in the story of our salvation, Jesus also has to leave us behind, depart from us & distant away from us. For God’s salvation be fully revealed & fulfilled, the risen Lord Jesus & His Easter disciples then must go through the process of goodbyes, letting go and distancing, which only an OFW family, both parent & children can understand by experience.

But beyond the heart-breaking consequences of departure & distancing in life, the risen Lord’s Ascension & perhaps the flight of an OFW migrant is all about our rising above to the special mission & particular plan God has in store for us in life. Over and above what happened to Jesus & His disciples at the ascension, we give importance to what Jesus said: “As the Christ would suffer & rise from the dead.. would be preached to all nations, You are witnesses of these things… and I am sending upon you the promise of my Father.” With these words, Jesus attests that He has done His mission and now is for us to do our Mission – our Part in His mission.

The Lord’s Ascension then is the moment when Jesus commissioned His disciples to continue the Mission he has begun. It is the very time when Jesus entrusted to His disciples all the good things he had done.   And Jesus is handing on the responsibilities now to us His disciples.

Not unlike a departing OFW parent saying parting words of love & encouragement to children left-behind, in His ascension, Jesus may have been saying these words, “Hey, I have done my part. I have nurtured & formed you right. This time, do your part. Go now, go ahead, move on to the world and proclaim – that is, I’ve given you the authority & responsibility to share what you have experienced and learned from me, so that others may also enjoy what have you have enjoyed with me.  By the way, don’t forget to believe that I have sent you, for we can continue to do great things, if you believe in me and remain in my love. Go now and do your part, for I have done my part & will continue to do our part in this life and beyond”.

Like the disciples of old, ours is a life commissioned by Christ. As baptized Christians, we are commissioned by Christ to continue and to do our part in the Mission of Christ. As we live our lives in faith of the risen & ascended Lord, we are entrusted also now do our part in building a Christian Nation as well as building God’s Kingdom in the here and now. Jesus continues to send us today in various ways to fulfill our respective life-missions as media of His offer of salvation to the world. During ordination, priests are commissioned to sanctify our Christian faith & life. During profession, religious are commissioned to consecrate & witness our response to God’s bountiful graces. During their wedding day, married couple are commissioned to love God in their marriage & family. During their commissioning, church lay ministers are commissioned to distribute communion, publicly read the scripture, give catechesis on neophytes Christians, on their own capacity. And above all, after Mass, we are all commissioned to “Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.”

It has been said that at the hour of his death, Jesus did not say: “I am finished”, but rather He said: “IT is Finished”. Thus, With Him & with us, there is more yet to come & more yet to happen as we do our now our part in His mission.  

As sent & commissioned to be His media & witnesses of the God’s kingdom, may we continue to respond & do our part in His ongoing plan of salvation.

So Be it. Kabay pa. Amen.


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