May 17, 2015 - Ascension, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Jesus says there must be outward signs that show our discipleship. And that these signs will accompany those who believe.
We are told that disciples will drive out demons in Jesus’ name. They will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands and if they drink any deadly thing it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick and the sick will recover.
It seems like a strange list to us today but let’s unfold each a little bit.
The authority to drive out demons. When someone comes to me anxious or depressed or in a dark place, and we are able to work through those feelings to bring that person to a place of peace and joy and happiness; then we have, in effect, driven out the demons.
Speaking in tongues. When we learn to communicate with the Holy Spirit at a deeper level some of us can become aware of the moanings and groanings and promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Also when we learn to speak in different languages a whole new world of experiences is open to us.
Picking up serpents and drinking deadly things is not an invitation to handle snakes or drink poison or walk on hot coals to prove our faith.
Rather, it is a promise of divine protection for Christians who encounter deadly perils.
Laying hands on the sick. I carry on this healing ministry of Jesus each time I celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
Ask anyone who has been anointed if they didn't feel some comfort, some relief, some healing as a result of the laying on of hands.
We continue to do the things that Jesus commissioned us to do. It's just that in our modern times they might look a little different than they did 2000 years ago.
Jesus calls us to be witnesses by our actions. Some among us may be able to perform some of these actions we just spoke about. But there are many other less dramatic ways for us to go into the world and proclaim the good news of what Jesus has done for us.
We proclaim Jesus by the patience we have with each other. We proclaim Jesus by the little acts of kindness that we show to one another. We proclaim Jesus by our joy. We proclaim Jesus by our humility.
We proclaim Jesus by the choices we make in our daily lives to do good instead of doing evil, to help instead of hurt, to lift up instead of tear down. We proclaim Jesus by the way we stand up for and protect those who cannot do for themselves.
Our holy father Pope Francis says go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel, and if you have to, use words.
We can talk, talk, talk, talk, talk all we want, but we must bear witness to the Lord most clearly by the way we live our lives.
Our good and holy actions confirm that Jesus is risen, that Jesus is ascended to heaven, that Jesus is Lord.
The call is clear: Go out into the world and proclaim this good news, and if you have to, use words.