Why did Jesus leave his disciples forty days after his resurrection? Forty is a significant number in the scriptures. Moses went to the mountain to seek the face of God for forty days in prayer and fasting. The people of Israel were in the wilderness for forty years in preparation for their entry into the promised land. Elijah fasted for forty days as he journeyed in the wilderness to the mountain of God. For forty days after his resurrection Jesus appeared numerous times to his disciples to assure them that he had risen indeed and to prepare them for the task of carrying on the work which he began during his earthy ministry. Jesus' departure and ascension was both an end and a beginning for his disciples. While it was the end of Jesus' physical presence with his beloved disciples, it marked the beginning of Jesus' presence with them in a new way. Jesus promised that he would be with them always to the end of time and promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would anoint them with power on the Feast of Pentecost, just as Jesus was anointed for his ministry at the River Jordan. When the Lord Jesus departed physically from the apostles, they experienced joy and anticipation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus' last words to his apostles point to their mission to be witnesses of his saving death and his glorious resurrection and to proclaim the good news of salvation to all the world. Their task is to proclaim the Gospel - the good news of salvation - not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations as well. The Gospel is the power of God, the power to release people from their burden of guilt, sin, and oppression, and the power to heal, restore, and make us whole. This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task - to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit.
CONFIRMATION: Next weekend we will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation here at St. Dominic. We are very proud of all our Confirmandi and continue to pray that they will be open to the wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit. Next weekend our Masses will be: Saturday 5 pm, Sunday 9:30am, 11:30 am and 2 pm. You are invited to celebrate with us at any of these four Masses.
I wish you a great week ahead!