Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Lord God, the heavens are telling of your glory and the wonders of your love, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. Yet, as clouds will cover your sky in gloom, as the ceilings of men's buildings hide the sky from my sight, so the cares of this existence block your majesty from my mind.
I look with hope to the day when my knowledge of your glory will never be hidden by the concerns of the world, and I may know you every moment of time, forever; but until then, forgive me for all the time I spend with my face bent to the things of earth, your Spirit ignored and forgotten; for you are always there, willing to show yourself to me and guide me and comfort me, if I only lift up my head and see the sky above.
Holy Lord, give me the grace to embody love for others in spite of what they say or do, and to express the sacrificial love of Jesus by treating others in the way Jesus treated me. My confidence is in You, and I will steadfastly hold fast to You rather than wringing my hands over the evils in this generation.
[Is my love for my neighbor dependent on what they say or do?]
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.
nd being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
The twelve apostles, being devout Jews, have not given up the idea that Christ came to restore the Kingdom of Israel. (And in a very limited sense, He did; Galatians and Revelation speak of Heaven in terms of “Jerusalem above” and the “New Jerusalem.”) This shows how ingrained the Mosaic covenant was to the Jews; the Pharisees, ignoring the prophets, taught that the Messiah would be a Jewish Messiah, not the savior of the Gentiles as well. But when they ask if the day has arrived for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, Christ gently rebukes and corrects them on two accounts. First, the timing is not for them to know; and second, their duty is to witness, not just to Israel, but “to the end of the earth.”
The “end of the earth” has two meanings. It refers to the fact that Christ’s word will be spread over the entire planet. It also seems to indicate that Christ’s word will live, and must continue to be spread, until the earth ceases to exist.
The passage ends with an account of the Ascension. The two men in white seem to be angels, but they might remind the reader of the visions of Elijah and Moses, whom Mark, Luke and John all recount at the Transfiguration. They promise Christ’s return “in like manner” as his ascension, a theme to be much elaborated in the Book of Revelation.