Reading I: Acts 1:11
Reading II: Ephesians 1:17-23
GOSPEL: Matthew 28:16-20

Conclusion of the Holy Gospel?!?!?

A priest friend of mine once told me a story of life in the seminary. One of the things they had to learn was how to proclaim the gospel. One day, a seminarian was proclaiming this gospel reading from Ascension Sunday and finished it with “Brothers and sisters, the conclusion of the holy gospel.”

The priest in charge of that session looked at the poor seminarian and bellowed, “The CONCLUSION? No! If that’s the conclusion, we have no reason to be here. Go pack your bags.” Ouch.

While the gospel this weekend is the conclusion of Matthew’s words, it is not the end of the gospel. We are living the gospel – the good news – right now. It is up to us to write the ending to it.

Don’t Just Stand There…

In order to write the ending for the gospel, we have to act. Jesus gives us the command, “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.”

This command seems simple enough, but sometimes it can be far too easy to get off task. Not just for us, but for the apostles too. In the first reading, when the Lord ascends into heaven, the apostles are caught gaping at the sky. Fortunately, the angels were there to ask, “Why are you standing there looking at the sky,” and politely told them there was work yet to be done.

…Do Something!

It’s not enough for us to sit in the pews each Sunday and pray. Nor is it enough to sit at a desk and write scripture reflections every week. When Jesus said to make disciples of all nations, he began that command with the word GO. Because of that, we have to put an active effort into our faith. We have to go out and engage with people as we live the gospel message that Jesus is the Messiah!

Actions Speak Louder than Words

I can sit here and tell you how to go out and make a model of your faith for others until I’m blue in the face. Is that enough to make you want to go out and live your faith? Who knows? Unfortunately, for all you know, I’m telling you one thing and doing another. Now if you could actually witness me “walking the talk,” the potential of motivating you to take action multiplies.

So if you decide to go and live your faith through actions, I guarantee that your actions will speak far louder than my words! And once you get started, you’ll realize that choosing to make your faith an active one – to really go out and make disciples of all nations – is much easier and more fulfilling than pontificating online.

The question is, how are you going to do it? Well, don’t fret because the options of serving are limitless. For example, you could:

  • volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
  • help in a soup kitchen
  • participate in a food or clothing drive
  • help with a benefit dinner or concert
  • mentor someone younger than you

And those are just a few of the options available to you! Talk to a staff member at your church – there are many, many opportunities for you to be a servant to others.

Contrary to what the young seminarian said, the gospel has not concluded. It has been entrusted to us to keep it going! It’s a big responsibility, but somebody has to do it. And guess what? Jesus put his faith in you. So put your faith back in him and live the gospel out loud, for all to see. And if you need help, just remember what Jesus told us: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Life Applications

How do you “walk the talk” of your faith?
How can you stay focused on “living the gospel” every day?
How does Jesus strengthen you and help you live the gospel?

Original article by Jacki Popadich, 2002 – 2020.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.