Feast of the Ascension
Preach a Living Faith
First Reading (Acts 1:1-11):
Second Reading (Phil 1:17-23): Jesus sits at the right hand of God
Gospel (Mt 28:16-20): Jesus appeared to the disciples and sent them
out to teach
Chinese Classic:“The story of a fish in the rut”
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus
had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some
doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All
authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore
and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey
everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always,
to the end of the age.” (Ref Mt 28:16-20)
Make disciples of all nations, and teach them to obey everything that
Jesus has commanded. That was Jesus' last command given to his church
and his disciples. That is to say, It is Jesus' last will and testament.
For us Christian, evangelization is part of our call and faith. A Christian
who does not evangelize cannot be said to be a true Christian.
Actually when we have had a good experience we cannot help but want
to tell others. If we do not tell others it is probably we really never
Let us imagine: if students got 10 “A”s in their Hong Kong Certificate
Examination, can they keep it to themselves and not share this good
news with their friends? It is impossible.
They will surely call their best friends immediately to let them know,
so that their friends can share their joy. When persons find a job,
especially a high pay and meaningful one, they will call their family
and friends immediately. Those who go on a trip and see beautiful scenery
or have a wonderful experience, will share this with their friends once
they return home.
Why can we not share our faith with our families and friends? Why can
we not evangelize? The most likely reason is because we have not experienced
how wonderful our faith is. I have heard of some parents who are unwilling
to let their children be baptized. Their reason is very simple and a
bit fanciful. They say, “ we hope when our children are older they will
choose their own religion themselves.”
However, I think this is often an excuse. If I studied in a famous
school and it helped me gain knowledge, work and social status, I do
not ask my children before sending them to that school. We teach our
children to speak Chinese from little up. We do not wait till they have
grown up to let them decide what languages they wish to learn. If I
think a particular milk formula is good, I choose it for my children,
because I know it will make them grow up healthily.
This does not mean that we should lead our children to believe without
reason. That is to say, if our lives are motivated by faith and faith
is the source of our hope and energy and we have experienced the presence
of the Holy Spirit, we really feel how wonderful our faith is and how
fortunate to be God's children. Then we will want to share our faith
with our children and help them receive strength from that faith.
We ourselves are Chinese so our children are Chinese. We are Christians,
why do we not want our children to be “citizens” of Heaven? Perhaps
we have never experienced true faith, perhaps I feel going to church
is difficult. Perhaps I feel the liturgy is a restraint and church rules
tie me down.
If I am not willing to love others as myself how can I teach my children
to forgive? If I do not wish to lead a simple life, or live according
to Jesus' teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, how can I teach my children
to live according to the “Eight Beatitudes”?
In order to “make disciples of all nations”, we must first become disciples.
In order to “teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you”,
then we must first practice everything that Jesus commanded us.
However, there are also some people who do not want to evangelize because
they do not know how. In that case we must remember what Jesus said,
“I will be with you all days until the
end of time.”
Within our hearts Jesus will teach us how to speak. Within our hearts
the Holy Spirit will also help us.
We must evangelize courageously because evangelization is a very urgent
mission. Our family, relatives and neighbors need us to bring them the
Zhuang Zi once told a story about “a fish in a rut.” A fish landed
on dry land. It was thirsty and asked a man for water. The man said,
“You wait for a while. Let me go south and meet up with the emperor
of Wu first. I will persuade him to divert water from the West River
and quench your thirst. The fish flushed with anger and said, I can
survive with a mere bucket of water. But if I had to wait for you to
return from the south, I will have died from thirst and become a dried
fish. At that time you had better look for me in the dried-goods market
We may have many friends who have problems about faith, life or spiritual
matters. They want them explained and understand better how Catholicism
would answer them. They want to ask us. However we ourselves do not
have an experience of Jesus or do not have a deep knowledge of our faith
so we can only reply, “When I have time I will take you to talk to the
Actually your friends want you to answer because you are their friend
and they trust you. Also they are asking you “now”. They are thirsty
now. If you take them to see the priest tomorrow, or a week or even
a month from now, they may either no longer be thirsty or their eagerness
If we Christian really want to evangelize we must grasp the right opportunity,
choose the right words for each person, the right timing and the internal
dispositions of each one. We cannot evangelize without all of these.