1) The Great Commission is clear: go and preach to every single person the Gospel message. What is that message? God sent His Son to save the world from its sins and from eternal damnation. In order to obtain that salvation, each person must believe in the Son of God, be baptised and observe all the other things He commanded to His Church. It’s as simple as that.
Why will those who refuse to believe be condemned? Because the light of the truth shines in the heart of every person, and if they are truly of good will they will come to acknowledge that truth. There are two principle reasons for this. First of all, because of the signs that are given to the Church, namely the countless miracles of Our Lord, the Apostles, the saints. We can mention here the ongoing miracles of Lourdes, of the Holy Shroud of Turin, of the tilma of St Juan Diego with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe; we can mention equally on this 13th day of May the great miracle of the sun in Fatima that was seen by at least 7o,000 people, when the sun began to dance in the sky and the immense crowd, from being drenched with the pour of rain was in an instant dried by the heat of that sun which came so close to the earth, miracle so incontestable that it was published by even the most anti-clerical newspapers of the time, and this only a century ago. Secondly, because the truth of the Gospel is in perfect harmony with what we know deep down in our hearts, if only we will allow our heart to speak. We are not made to live and die like animals. We have a spark of eternity in us, and our soul longs to live and love forever. Only the Catholic religion has the answer to that yearning, for the Catholic religion alone possesses the fulness of the revelation of the Son of God.
2) The Great Commission is given to the Church through the apostles and is entrusted principally to the bishops and priests. In our day, the pope and bishops have repeatedly told the Church that every single Catholic has the duty to spread the Gospel in any way they can. The age of Christendom when anyone who was in search of God knew exactly where to go and what to do, is gone. Today, the Gospel must be taken out to all, to the highways and the byways, to the market place, to the schools, to the town halls. It must be shared in every way. And all of us will have to give an account for the way we put to profit the talents received to spread the Gospel. We simply cannot be paralysed by the fear of losing friends or comfort, for those very friends who today are perhaps vexed at our insistence will one day thank us for having cared enough about them to stretch out a saving hand. The day is fast approaching when we will have to give an account.
3) In the very same way in which the Saviour rises to Heaven today, so will He come, in glory, on the clouds of Heaven, surrounded by all the saints and angels of the heavenly court. Today Christ appears to us in the beauty and attractiveness of His sacred humanity, urging us on to change our lives and embrace a truly evangelical way of life. But when He returns in glory, He will be the severe and exacting judge. There will no longer be time to convert. Today is the day of salvation.
And so, today’s feast, while it warms our heart to contemplate the glory of our beloved Lord, knowing that He goes to prepare a place for us in Heaven because He wants us to be there one day with Him, at the same time wakes us up from our torpor, and incites us to welcome His word, to live by it and to share it.
In this task, we are comforted by the maternal presence of Mary. She was there with the apostles as they watched the Lord rise from the earth and disappear into the clouds. She has accompanied the Church ever since its inception, and in these latter times, she cares so much about us that she comes to call us back to our dear Saviour. And whose heart is so hard as to refuse the pleas of a Mother? Let not her appeals be in vain!