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This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. This Feast used to be celebrated as a holy day of obligation on the Thursday after the sixth Sunday of Easter. Several years ago, however, most dioceses in the United States moved this celebration to the Sunday immediately following what would have been Ascension Thursday.
Our first reading this weekend, from the Acts of the Apostles, contains the account of the Ascension. “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 you have seen him going into heaven.”
The Gospel reading for this weekend is taken from the Gospel of Mark. It too contains an account of the Ascension, (albeit briefer than the one in Acts). It contains the clear declaration, however, that even though Jesus was taken up to into heaven he “worked with them (the disciples) and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians. In it Paul prays: “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:
- When I think of the Ascension I have this image of Jesus’ disciples staring off into the sky looking for Jesus. Eventually, though, they had to learn to find his presence here on earth. Where on this earth do you see signs of Christ’s presence?
- Where have you found the grace of Christ at work in our world?
- I love St. Paul’s use of the phrase: “the eyes of your heart.” What have you seen with the “eyes of your heart” that you didn’t recognize with your regular vision?