Messengers of Good News
By: By Sister Rachel Bergschneider, OSB
Ascension of the Lord, May 24
Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47:2-3,6-7,8-9; Ephesians 1:17-23 or Ephesians 4:1-13; Mark 16:15-20
These days we find ourselves holding our breath and feeling a bit panicked about the world in which we live. There are so many concerns: the economy, the job fall-out, turmoil in many countries, just to name a few. It is so easy to do just what the followers of Jesus did — look up in bewilderment as Jesus rose from their midst.
Those followers of Jesus must have been in a bit of shock. In the past few years they had been through a lot. They had pinned all their hopes on this person Jesus and experienced the confusion of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Now he was leaving them! Their lives must have been turned upside down.
It was the two men dressed in white standing near them as Jesus ascended who jolted them out of their gaze. (Acts 1:10)
Jesus sends these people “into the whole world (to) proclaim the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) They can’t just remain in their bewildered state, frozen to the world around them.
Jesus directs them to move out of themselves to take the love of God to others — in a sense forgetting about their own concerns — to focus on the Good News of Jesus. In doing so, they would have the Spirit of God dwelling within them, directing their message.
Likewise, our lives have been a bit turned upside down these days. What kind of decisions are going to be good for us and our families? Do we find ourselves frozen, holding on to our securities, “waiting for God to restore the kingdom” (Acts 1: 5) as the followers of Jesus were doing? Or, are we willing to listen to Jesus, who constantly calls us out of ourselves, and let go of our preoccupations in order to be on mission for the Good News of Jesus?
The question is, perhaps, how much do we really trust the words of Jesus that “the eyes of (our) hearts are enlightened” to receive “a spirit of wisdom and insight” to know the hope that belongs to our call to serve God? How willing are we to risk the comfort of our own world to relieve the sufferings of others, and, thereby, be a messenger of the Good News of Jesus Christ?
I think often of a prayer my mother had on the wall near our kitchen table:
This is the beginning of a new Day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or grow in its light
and be of service to others.
But what I do with this day is important
because I have exchanged a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes,
today will be gone forever.
I hope I will not regret the price I paid for it.
A member of the Sisters of St. Benedict of St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, Sister Rachel Bergschneider, OSB, has been pastoral associate at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Peoria Heights since 1983.