Going, going, GONE!

There’s an awful lot of “going” associated with the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus.

Jesus tells his disciples in John’s gospel: “I’m going away” and “I go to the Father,” and “where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will be able to later.” 

As they are speaking to him in our first reading today, a cloud takes Jesus from their sight, and he GOES up into heaven. He GOES to sit at the right hand of the Father, as our Creed puts it.

And the disciples are dumbfounded. They’re left with their jaws on the ground…An angel has to come along and tell them: “Hey guys… snap out of it. Why are you standing there looking at the sky?”

It’s as if the angel is poking them, saying: ‘Hey, don’t you remember when Jesus told you: “I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I GO. For if I do not GO, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I GO, I will send him to you.”

So much going! Jesus is a guy who is on the go!

But why exactly does Jesus have to GO away?

What’s the reason for His Ascension into Heaven? … Why can’t he just stay with us in the same way forever?

Well, here’s the thing:

Jesus goes, so that we can get going.

Jesus goes away, so that we might GO FORTH.

This is what God has always done with His people:

He always sends people out to go on a MISSION.

He tells Noah: “GO and build an ark for you and your family!”

He tells Abraham to get up and GO to the Land I’m giving you and your descendants.

He tells Moses to get up and GO to Pharaoh and tell him: “Let my people GO.”

He inspires David to GO and fight the giant GOliath.

Did you know that the word “go” appears in the Bible approximately 1,145 times? 

That’s a lot of going!

But all this “going” takes on a whole new meaning when we come to the New Testament.

At the end of Mark’s gospel, which we just heard today, Jesus directly commands his disciples:

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”

And then we hear, Jesus was “taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.” Jesus ASCENDS! He GOES AWAY from them. And then what?

“But they WENT FORTH and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”

Jesus goes, so that the Church can really get going.

Jesus goes away, so that the Church can GO FORTH.

Go forth and do what?

…Proclaim the Gospel! Share the good news! 


Pope St. Paul VI  in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi says it this way:

“Evangelization is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize.” 

Another way you could put it is: The Church exists in order to GO!

But let me pause here.

Because I think we might hear that word “evangelization” and we can be like: “Oh boy. Another Church buzz-word. Another thing we gotta try and ‘do.’ Another meeting we need to plan. Another committee we gotta put together in order to figure out how we’re gonna do this whole weird uncomfortable evangelization thing.”

But this is looking at it all wrong.

Because evangelization — the proclamation of the MESSAGE… Sharing the STORY of what Jesus has done for EVERYONE, how He has LOVED and SAVED every single person that has ever or will ever exist — is not just something the Church “does” — it’s not one more menial task the Church has to somehow find time to do.

It’s actually who the Church IS. 

It’s our “deepest identity,” the pope says.

This is VERY important for us to get straight…

Because at the end of the day, our parish of Saint Bede does not primarily exist for its current members.

We actually exist for OUTSIDERS.


Have you ever thought about that before?

We’re here… for the sake of all the people who are NOT here! To reach souls! To offer the Gospel free of charge!

Tim Glemkowski in his book “Made for Mission” puts it this way — 

“Parishes can no longer view themselves as gathering places for the faithful. Rather, they must [learn to] see themselves as missionary outposts in a new and strange land.”

I love that.

Think of Saint Bede as a MISSIONARY outpost! — We’re here for EVERYBODY ELSE who isn’t Catholic yet!

We exist for the sake of everyone who has NOT had an encounter with the Lord. Has NOT met Jesus. Has NOT professed faith. Does NOT follow Him yet.

More often than not, people think churches are for church people.


That’s backwards.

Churches are for the lost. The wandering. The hungry. The confused. The sinful. The struggling.

That’s why Jesus tells us right before He ascends: “GO… Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” Tell all the people some GOOD NEWS.

Jesus did not say: “Go, and keep your religion to yourself.”

He did not say: “Go, and make sure you keep your beliefs as private as possible and non-offensive as possible.”

Our Lord did not say: “Go, and keep sitting in your pew.”

Actually he said: “Go. And proclaim the Gospel.”

That’s a paradigm shift that so many parishes need to do a lot of hard work in order for it to get down into our bones — down INTO the parish culture. The way we think. The way we do everything else…

If you ask me, I think most parishes are already pretty good at saying to people: “Hey… you come to us.” Come to our events. Come to our programs. Come to the stuff we’re hosting here on our church grounds.

But are we willing to “GO” to them? Are we even equipped and prepared to GO forth?

Because the fact of the matter is: We don’t go to Church every Sunday just to check a box, fulfill an obligation, and be part of a cool religious club that we happen to enjoy. 

If that’s all it is, then count me out. 

Sorry. …Not good enough.

No, we come to Church because we’re an integral and necessary part of a grand MISSION… a DIVINE ADVENTURE. We come here to Mass in order to be built up, and formed into the Risen, Ascended, GLORIFIED Christ — to worship the Living God and to be made holy through our celebration of the Liturgy! To be encouraged and EQUIPPED in our faith.

In our second reading this weekend, Saint Paul said that the Lord made some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers… why? … In order to “equip the holy ones for the work of ministry”

That’s you! You are the “holy ones” the “lower-case ’s’ saints!”

You are being EQUIPPED for the work of ministry — the work of GOING FORTH… to leave this place and then share what you’ve found here:

Because you’ve found the Pearl of Greatest Price. 

You’ve discovered the Treasure Buried in the Field. 

You’ve met the God who loves you and has forgiven you, and has given your life a whole new direction.

So now it’s time to GO… and tell other people about Him.


At some point or another, you’ve probably heard this dismissal at the end of Sunday Mass: 

“GO FORTH! The Mass is ended!”

And then we all say: “THANKS BE TO GOD”

…It’s time to go get DONUTS… It’s finally time to go to BRUNCH… It’s time to go FIGHT OUR WAY out of the parking lot, right? Maybe it’s time to LEAVE EARLY… No, don’t do that… Father Anthony doesn’t like that!

GO FORTH… the Mass is ended.

In Latin, the words are “Ite misa est.” …And it could be translated literally: “Go, She is sent.”

Who is “She?” What are we talking about?

The Church! You and me! 


The Body of Christ is filled with the Body of Christ!  … We are IN COMMUNION with Jesus in a way that’s so remarkable and so uniquely intimate.

And so at the end of Mass, the Church is saying to each of us: “Go! You are SENT… The Church is sent! ITE MISA EST. GO FORTH!!!!”

Freely you’ve eaten the Real Presence of Jesus — now go FREELY and feed the world without any price… 

Feed them with what they are truly hungering for

…the Real Presence of God! 

Get going! Get out of here… and go share what you’ve received here with everyone who is NOT here.