For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser: https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052817-ascension.cfm
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. When I was pastor of a parish with a school I loved celebrating Mass with children on this day. After the Gospel I would stand in front of the altar and stare up at the ceiling. Within a few seconds every child in the place would also be staring at the ceiling. After about a minute of this, I would tell them that they were dong the exactly the same thing Jesus’ disciples did when Jesus ascended into heaven.
We read of Jesus’ Ascension in our first reading this weekend which is taken from the Acts of the Apostles. In that reading we are told that when Jesus gathered with his disciples for the last time after his resurrection he told them: “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?’ This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
Our Gospel reading this weekend contains the final verses of Matthew’s Gospel. In it Jesus commands his disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit………” Jesus also reminded his disciples, that “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians. In it Paul prays that 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:
- Sometimes I am like the disciples. I stare off into the heavens looking for Jesus, and forget his promise to be with us always, until the end of the age. Is this true for you as well?
- How are you called to give witness to Jesus in your life?
- How would you explain to someone our belief that Christ is both in heaven and yet with us here on earth?