The Ascension of Our Lord

Today's Reading: Mark 16:14-20

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 11:1-23,31-35; Luke 17:1-19

He said to them, "As you're going into all the world, preach the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16)

He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Gospel is for everyone because Jesus died for everyone. The Gospel is for everyone because Jesus rose from the dead for everyone. The Gospel is for everyone because Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated "at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19) for everyone.

Jesus, who died and rose, really is for everyone. No one is left out! He's for you, for your friends and family, for your coworkers and classmates, for your enemies, and even for your neighbors who actually live next door. Jesus is for those who followed Him, the one who betrayed Him, those who fled Him, the one who denied Him, and those who killed Him. That's the Gospel: Jesus died and rose FOR YOU, and it doesn't matter who you are!

It's delivered to you, too. It's the in the preaching. It's in Holy Baptism. That's why Jesus sends out His preachers and baptizers, His pastors. That's why He sent them to you, to preach the Gospel (that Jesus died and rose for you) to you, to baptize you, delivering you into the death and resurrection of Jesus. That's what you pay your pastor to do.

But it's not just for pastors to do. We all can tell people the Gospel: Jesus died for them. We, too, can forgive people: I forgive you for...(fill in the blank).

That's Jesus' way. He came and died and rose, and He wants it delivered to everyone. To deliver it He uses mouths and hands. Through those mouths and hands He delivers to all His Gospel and salvation. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Grant, we implore You, almighty God, that just as we believe Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to have ascended into the heavens, so may we also in heart and mind to heaven ascend, and continually dwell with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for the Ascension)

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