For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/060219-ascension.cfm
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. This Feast used to be celebrated on the Thursday before the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Several years ago, though, the Bishops of the United States moved the celebration of the Ascension to what would have been the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
Our Gospel this Sunday is the last few verses of the Gospel of Luke. In it we are told that Jesus led his disciples as far as Bethany and then told them he was “sending the promise of my Father upon you” Then,…………he raised his hands and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.”
The above scene is also recorded in our first reading this Sunday from the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. In this account Jesus promised that his disciples “will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you………… When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”
As I reflected on these readings, I remembered a wonderful homily preached by another priest at his mother’s funeral. In his homily he noted that while his mother had died, she would continue to live on. He then went on to name various people and situations where his mother’s presence would be known and felt. His message was clear. While physically gone, his mother’s presence would continue to be experienced. This is the same message of our Gospel and first reading. While Jesus would no longer be with his disciples physically, he would continue to be with them. We experience this abiding presence of Christ in many ways, but most evidently in the Eucharist, in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the grace of God that is continually being offered to us.
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 and that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call ………………..and what is the surpassing greatness of his power.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- When have you felt someone’s presence even though they were not physically with you?
- When have you felt God’s presence in your life?
- I loved Paul’s use of the phrase “eyes of your heart.” When have you seen some one/thing through the eyes of the heart?