Where Do You Belong?
” They do not belong to the world anymore than I belong to the world.” John 17: 16
The last days that Jesus spent with his close friends on earth were filled with lots of life and death reflections…in fact, the quotation from John’s Gospel above was so important to Jesus that he repeated it twice. “They do not belong to this world anymore than I do.”
It means a lot to know that Jesus knows where I belong and to whom I belong…because sometimes, I really feel it. I really feel like I do not belong to this world.
Jesus Ascends to Heaven
We have to be careful not to understand this “mystery” too literally. Jesus did not get sucked up into a cloud or ride one into heaven. If we follow that concept through, so to speak, it becomes clear that thinking this way is more imagination than reality.
If Jesus really did “go up”, where did he go? To heaven? And where is heaven? In the sky above Palestine? But not above New York, Beijing, New Delhi, or Rio de Janeiro? Or does heaven wrap itself round the whole world? We can begin to see how outrageous things can get.
Actually, heaven is not a place at all. It is our definitive relationship with God, just as hell is the eternal severing of that relationship. ‘Heaven’ is where God is; and to be with God is to be ‘in heaven’.
Before Jesus leaves his disciples, he gives them their mission. Jesus, who confined himself to the people of Israel, tells them to continue his work all over the world. They will be able to do what Jesus himself could not do. “He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). They will be able to preach the Gospel to the whole world.
We can do things in our lifetime that were beyond the wildest imagination of those early disciples. Satellites, television, radio, internet; our high-speed physical and technical mobility have changed the way we connect. The next step of evangelization is to connect the message of God with the connections we make in every other way.
You live the mission as you continue the work of Jesus with your own hands. You build the mission when you throw your weight behind good ideas that give life to others. You expand the mission when you dream of things that have never been done before.
The Ascension happened once. The promise that it holds for all of us is eternal. How will this call to discipleship change the way you live your life…today?