The ending scene from our first reading today is almost comical. There the disciples stand, staring into the sky after Jesus ascended into heaven. Then two angel-like beings stand beside them giving them a verbal kick in the posterior:
‘Why are you Galileans standing here looking into the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way as you have seen him go to heaven.’
You can almost hear the next line: “Don’t just stand there, get to work!”
It’s funny, but it’s an important message for all of us. We’re each here for a purpose, and the jobs God has assigned to us aren’t easy. But if we ask him for courage God will give us all we need to get our job done. This is what Jesus told his disciples in today’s gospel:
“These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.”
That doesn’t mean we need to do stupid things to test God. It just means that in doing what needs to be done we should be fearless and God will have our back. And how do we know what needs to be done? Just live your life in faith and you’ll find out, using that courage we prayed for. Another prayer we should keep in our daily rotation is for wisdom. It’s well worded in today’s second reading:
“May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, how rich is the glory of the heritage he offers among his holy people.”
Courage mixed with wisdom is the recipe that will reveal God’s will for us.