Vatican City, May 8, 2016 / 06:22 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis commemorated the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven by reminding the faithful of their duty to be witnesses of the Gospel every day of the week, in all areas of life – and not just on Sundays.
“We must carry this witness every week: Christ is with us; Christ has gone up into Heaven, and is with us; Christ is alive!” the Pope said during his May 8 Regina Caeli address to the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Citing the words of Jesus in the day's Gospel taken from Luke, the pontiff explained how the Apostles were “witnesses” of Christ's death, resurrection, and now Ascension; indeed, they returned to Jerusalem and joyfully testified about the risen Christ, in whose name they would preach conversion and “repentance, for the forgiveness of sins.”
The Pope said this witness – “made not only with words but also with daily life” – should go beyond Church on Sunday. Rather, it should extend throughout the entire week in our “homes, offices, schools, in places of entertainment, in hospitals, in prisons, in homes for the elderly, in places crowded with immigrants, in the city's peripheries.”
Pope Francis centered his address on the Feast of the Ascension, which commemorates Jesus ascending into Heaven 40 days after his Resurrection from the dead. While this feast technically falls on a Thursday, many countries transfer the celebration to the following Sunday.
“We contemplate the mystery of Jesus who left our earthly space in order to enter in the fullness of God's glory, bringing with him our humanity,” the Pope said.