Ascension - Year A
WHO IS THEOPHILUS?
The author the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles dedicates both books to someone named Theophilus. His identity is a mystery. Some think that he might be a nobleman who is a Christian. Luke may have seen him as a sponsor for his ministry. Others suggest that he might have been a Roman judge. Luke might have been trying to defend Christianity during a persecution, or perhaps during Paul's trial. Many have the opinion that he is not a specific person because "Theophilus" means "lover of God" in Greek. So, in a way, the book may be commended to all who adore the Lord--all of us.
A MOUNTAIN IN GALILEE
The book of Acts tells us that the Ascension of Jesus into heaven took place near Jerusalem. Jesus told them "not to leave Jerusalem". Why then, does Matthew say that the event happened at a mountain in Galilee? The answer may be that there were two different traditions of where Jesus' departure took place. Another possibility is that Matthew interprets the mission of the Apostles as beginning at their homes in Galilee, from where they went forth. Finally, there is a distinct tradition in Jerusalem that the Mount of Olives was home to Galileans while on pilgrimage to the holy city. It would have been a convenient stopping point on the way from Galilee. Hence it might have been a "little Galilee" just as some cities have immigrant sections like "little Italy", etc.
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