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Celebrating the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)

Amazing. After three years of traveling with Jesus, after seeing him arrested, tried, and crucified, after seeing him risen from the dead, even after forty days of Holy Spirit-inspired instruction—after all this, the apostles are still confused. They ask Jesus if he is now going to kick out the Romans and restore Israel to its former glory. They just didn’t get it yet.

Still, we can ask a similar question today: “Lord, when are you going to come and set everything right again? What about all the wars and poverty and abortions?”

In response, Jesus tells the apostles, and us: Yes, I came to establish the kingdom of God—but I want you to help build it.

It’s only right, on today of all days, to praise Jesus with “a blare of trumpets” (Responsorial Psalm). But in the midst of our celebrating, Jesus’ words still reverberate: “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). “Go, . . . and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Jesus may have ascended, but the work of his kingdom continues—and he has placed that work in our hands. That’s why he promised us the Holy Spirit. We need the Spirit so that our attempts to preach the gospel, take a stand against sin, and lift up the poor are filled with God’s own grace and love.

It’s not as hard as you might think. Preaching the gospel can be as simple as offering to pray for a struggling friend or sharing with a neighbor about how God helped you during a tough situation. Lifting up the poor can mean a weekly visit to a nursing home or increasing your donations to the poor box. Taking a stand against sin can mean praying for people’s conversion or trying to establish a more peaceful environment in the home.

Yes, Jesus is going to restore his kingdom. And he’s going to use you to do it.

“Come, Holy Spirit, and fill our hearts. Empower us to build a kingdom worthy of the risen Lord!”

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