We might compare the feast of the Ascension to the passing of a baton from one runner to another in a relay race. That day Jesus passed the baton of responsibility for the Kingdom of God to his followers … to us.
Jesus gave us the assignment to complete the work He began.
The message of the Ascension is a simple one. Jesus invites us to take from his hand the baton he received from his Father; and tells us to continue the work that his Father gave Him to do on earth. It’s a call to witness Jesus and teach others about Him wherever we find ourselves and in whatever manner the Holy Spirit inspires us to use.
The Ascension is all about simply taking Jesus' invitation seriously to be His witness to our world and his teacher to those we encounter in our life.
As Jesus exited this earth, He asked us to continue the work He began on earth in the environments where we live … our homes … our places of work … our parishes. Does this mean we must preach about Jesus as Peter and the other disciples did in our first reading? For most of us, probably not. It’s more about how we live. St. Frances once said: "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."
Taking the baton from Jesus means living the Gospel in our daily lives. At the very least, it means being witnesses to Jesus in our own families. Only if we begin taking our Christian calling seriously will the message of Jesus take hold in our world. And, if we step out in faith and do it, our faith will ripple around the globe. And, if enough of us do it, that ripple will grow into a tidal wave. And that tidal wave — empowered by the Holy Spirit — will renew the face of the earth in a way we never dreamed possible.
Don't be disheartened; pick up the baton and carry on!