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Leonardo da Vinci had started to work on a large canvas in his studio. For a while he worked at it – choosing the subject, planning the perspective, sketching the outline, applying the colors, with his own extraordinary genius. Then suddenly he stopped working on it.

Summoning one of his talented students, the master invited him to complete the work. The horrified apprentice protested that he was both unworthy and unable to complete the great painting which his master had begun. But da Vinci silenced him, "Will not what I have done inspire you to do your best?"

Jesus, our Master, began to spread the Good News two thousand years ago by what He said and did, and supremely by what He suffered. Jesus illustrated His message and left us to finish the picture. Will Jesus’ life not inspire us to finish the picture? This is the message of the Ascension?

Matthew, Mark, and Acts record Jesus’ last words differently.

  • “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
  • “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)
  • “Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)

These last words of Christ seem to agree that:

  • Jesus gave the disciples a mission of bearing witness by preaching and living the Good News. They are to tell and retell the story of Jesus' life, suffering, death, and Resurrection.
  • He assured them of the Divine assistance of the Holy Spirit in the carrying out of this mission.
  • He instructed them to baptize the believers: “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.”

I hope by now that you see the Feast of the Ascension challenges us to complete the work of Jesus by accepting our commission to receive the Spirit, make disciples by first becoming one ourselves, and finally witnessing Christ to the world.

Easier said than done? You bet!

However, Jesus will be true to His promise to remain with us and empower us until He comes again. He will help us finish His picture and complete His mission!

— Father Mark

St. Ladislas is a welcoming Roman Catholic community that deepens our personal relationship with Jesus Christ by worshipping together, reaching out to others and building up the Kingdom of God as intentional disciples.

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