There are people we entrust with our lives – or a big part of our lives, anyway. We entrust the education and care of our children to teachers and sports coaches.
We entrust our retirement savings and college funds to financial managers.
We entrust the structural security and efficient operation of our homes to contractors, electricians and plumbers.
Fire-fighters, police, doctors and nurses – all professionals we entrust with our health and safety.
We trust these people because they have demonstrated a sense of responsibility and competence in their fields and have proven that will act in our interests.
And there are many people who have entrusted some part of their lives to us: our employers, our clients, our friends – and, most important of all, our families and children.
It is no small thing to be entrusted as such.
It means putting aside our own interests to seek what is best for those who have placed their confidence in us.
It begins by understanding and appreciating what they want to make of their lives and their expectations for the future.
To entrust some part of our lives to another requires letting go, respecting their expertise and competence, accepting the reality that some things will go wrong or fail, that nothing is forever.
And to accept the responsibility of taking on what someone entrusts to us requires patience, understanding – and being ready and willing to say what they may not want to hear, but have to.
Such trust, such commitment, is sacred.
Today, on the mount of the Ascension, Jesus entrusts to us his life, his Gospel of healing, compassion, reconciliation and hope. Having given his life to reveal the love of God for all of us, he entrusts that work to you and me. He commissions us to be his “witnesses” and to continue his work – with all its risks and despite all our doubts. The work of building his church of reconciliation and love requires of us humility, respect, patience; it asks us to let go of our own interests and wants to open our hearts to change and a willingness to cope with that change. In baptism, every Christian of every time and place takes on the role of witness to all that Jesus did and taught. We are witnesses not only in our articulating the powerful words of the Gospel but in the quiet, simple, but no less powerful expressions of compassion and love that echo the same compassion and love of God – God who is Father and Son and Brother and Sister to us all.