Thoughts on the Readings for the Solemnity of the Ascension (B) 2015

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051715-ascension.cfm

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord.   Both our first reading and our Gospel tell the story of the Ascension.   In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we are told that “………. as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”   Similarly, in our Gospel today we are told that:  “So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.”  

Now while this Feast celebrates Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, it is also celebrates what the disciples did after the Ascension.  Both our reading from Acts and our Gospel tell us of the commission that Jesus gave his disciples before he ascended into heaven.   In Acts we are told:  “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  And in our Gospel Jesus told his disciples:  “Go out into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”    And we know that empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, this is just what the early disciples did.   The task of being witnesses of Christ and proclaiming his Gospel now falls to us.   

Our second reading for this Sunday is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians.  In it Paul prays for the people of Ephesus “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the  surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Who was the first person to tell you about Jesus Christ?
  2. What is one concrete and specific way you could be a witness for Christ and proclaim his Gospel?
  3. I love the words: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened.”  What do these words mean to you?   
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Comments

1. My mother, a Catholic, was probably the first to tell me about Jesus Christ. Although I do not recall the occasion, It could have been at Christmas, a baby Jesus lying in the manger, his little arms outstretched. (My first prayer I learned at my mother's side: "God bless me, make me good..." Although too young to comprehend God, I was no doubt then learning, by trial and error, the difference between good behavior and bad.
2. To be a witness to Christ and claim his Gospel, I look to Mark 12:30-31:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength..and..Love your neighbor as yourself.
Specifically and concretely, I confess that in my impatience this translates into, "Kill them with kindness."
3. Furthermore, forgive me for saying so, but these words of St. Paul mean that he needs an editor or a better translator. Since it is by light that we see, "May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened," is pleonastic. One could simply say, "May your hearts be enlightened." I hope mine will be.

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