“Remember” . . . “I am with you always” “You will be my witnesses.”
(cf. Mt 28:16-20 Acts 1:11)
The Gospels and Acts of the Apostles are remarkably silent on the weeks between Easter Sunday and the Ascension of the Lord. The few events related in the New Testament seem to have occurred during the days/weeks immediately following the Resurrection. So, what did they do all those weeks?
The disciples gathered often for prayer, and probably discussed at length what had happened. When Jesus first appeared among them they were full of fear but became joyful when they began to understand what this really meant. Their relationship with Jesus deepened during those weeks and evolved from initial fear to joy at having Jesus alive again among them. He continued to open their minds to all that had been said of him through the prophets and the Scriptures. (Cf. Emmaus – Lk Ch. 24). Jesus prepared their minds and hearts to the new reality of his imminent departure and of the new form of being present with them.
By the fortieth day, they must have been ready to accept this new way of relating to Jesus. They had the assurance that He would always be with them as He commissioned them to “Go into the entire world and preach the Gospel to every creature”. (cf. Mk Ch. 16) Hence, their joy and hasty return to Jerusalem after Jesus withdrew from them as he was being raised up into the heavens.
John tells us that” many books could be written about Jesus, his teachings, his Resurrection which the whole world be unable to contain.” (cf. John Ch. 21) Perhaps these books have been written in a multitude of formats as the message continues to spread throughout the world and across the centuries by means of the hearts “burning with joy” as they welcome the Holy Spirit.