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Lectionary Reflections: Ascension [a] May 14 or 17, 2015

Engaging Faith | Tue, May 5, 2015

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Ascension [a]

May 14 or May 17, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern

Ascension [a]

Thursday, May 14, 2015 or Sunday, May 17, 2015 [depending on your diocese or country]

Readings

Acts 1:1-11

Ephesians 1:17-23 or Ephesians 4:1-13 or Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Mark 16:15-20

Calendar

May 18: Victoria Day in Canada

May 22: International Day for Biological Diversity [http://www.cbd.int/idb/]

May 24: Pentecost

Quotes

Reading the Scriptures also makes it clear that the Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. Nor should our loving response to God be seen simply as an accumulation of small personal gestures to individuals in need, a kind of “charity à la carte,” or a series of acts aimed solely at easing our conscience. The Gospel is about the kingdom of God (cf. Luke 4:43); it is about loving God who reigns in our world.

Pope Francis, Evangelli Gaudium, 180

The true apostle is first of all a person who is “tuned in,” a servant ready for God’s action.

John Paul II, Athens, May 5, 2001

Intense prayer, yes, but it does not distract us from our commitment to history: by opening our heart to the love of God it also opens it to the love of our brothers and sisters, and makes us capable of shaping history according to God’s plan…A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to “make room” for our brothers and sisters, bearing “each other’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy.

John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte

We have a lot of work to do. Every time we reach out and assuage someone’s hunger, and do that in memory of Jesus, a sense of Eucharist will bring to consciousness the Spirit and the real presence of Jesus - in us, through us, among us. That Spirit alone is capable of transforming us and the world.

Miriam Therese Winter, MMS

Come, Holy Spirit! Help us to overcome our selfishness.

Pope Francis ‏@Pontifex· May 20

Thoughts for your Consideration

In the first reading the followers of Jesus look up to heaven.

The angels ask them “Why?”

It is as if they are saying:

“Why don’t you just look around and then maybe you will see the Christ?”

Look around and you will see the presence of Christ.

Look around and you will hear the call of God.

Look around and you will know the power of the Spirit.

Look around and you will be empowered.

Look around and you will be filled with joy.

You will be involved in the struggle for justice and peace.

You will hear the voice of God among the poor and needy of the world.

You will see the beauty of creation and also the tragic harm being done to creation.

You will hear God speak in the struggle for peace and justice.

You will see God in the goodness and faith of people

You will see God in those who struggle to do what is right and good.

You will be led into life and grace.

God dwells in the world.

In a sense, the Ascension experience sends the followers of Jesus into the world to “find God in all things.” The spirituality of Christ is not a spirituality that looks to get out of the world and its challenges. The spirituality of Christ is a spirituality connected to the world around us – the world of people and nature – a world with rich and poor, men and women, young and old, nature and grace, conflict and reconciliation, war and peace, sin and virtue, etc.

The disciples are sent out not with a rigid ideology or a fully spelled out set of rules, but rather with a spirit – a spirit of openness – a spirit that proclaims “repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations.” 

Even though our world today, on a certain level, is radically different than the world of 2000 years ago, Christ can still be found. Christ is still alive and present. The Ascension is the key that allows all this to happen. Jesus says: “It is better for you that I go, for if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7) Catholic Social Teaching affirms and supports our involvement with all the richness, diversity, and mystery of human life. We can “find God in all things.” We can make a difference in all the big issues of our day.

When he visited the United States a number of years ago, Pope Benedict reminded young people: “We must listen deeply. We must respond with a renewed social action that stems from the universal love that knows no bounds. In this way, we ensure that our works of mercy and justice become hope in action for others.”

At World Youth Day in Rio in 2013, Pope Francis reminded church leaders: “We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, in our parish or diocesan institutions, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel! To go out as ones sent, it is not enough simply to open the door in welcome because they come, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people! Let us urge our young people to go forth. Of course, they will make mistakes, but let us not be afraid! The Apostles made mistakes before us. Let us urge them to go forth. Let us think resolutely about pastoral needs, beginning on the outskirts, with those who are farthest away, with those who do not usually go to church. They are the VIPs who are invited. Go and search for them at the crossroads.”

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

How have you been surprised by the presence of God in daily life? 

How have you experienced the presence of God in a difficult human situation?

+++++

What is God saying in the big events in our world?

  • In the destructive earthquake in Nepal?
  • In recent acts of terrorism and violence?
  • In the reality of climate change?
  • In the recent events in Baltimore?
  • In the ongoing reality of economic inequality in our nation and our world?

Story

The Lost Ring [http://www.rodneyohebsion.com/mulla-nasrudin.htm]

A man noticed Nasrudin intently inspecting the ground outside his door.

“Mulla,” he said, “what are you looking for?”

“I’m looking for a ring I dropped,” Nasrudin replied.

“Oh,” the man replied as he also began searching. “Well where exactly were you standing when you dropped it?”

“In my bedroom,” Nasrudin replied, “not more than a foot in front of my bed.”

“Your bedroom?!“ the man asked. “Then why are you searching for it out here near your doorway.

“Because,” Nasrudin explained, “there is much more light out here.”

Actions - Links

Finding God in all Things

The feast of the Ascension reminds us to “find God in all things” and not just stare up to heaven to find God in some other place. Along these lines you might find this little explanation of the examen helpful:  http://www.rcdom.org.uk/documents/EXAMEN.pdf

Climate Change

Climate Change and the Common Good, A Statement of the Problem and the Demand for Transformative Solutions 29 April 2015 by The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences can be found at: http://www.pas.va/content/dam/accademia/pdf/protect/climate_change_common_good.pdf  

Read the final declaration at: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/04/28/final_declaration_on_workshop_on_climate_change/1140356

Equal Pay for Women

Pope Francis speaks up for equal pay for women.

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-firmly-backs-equal-pay-women-citing-christian-radical-equality

“Crazy Facts”

Thirty-five years ago, the United States ranked 13th among the 34 industrialized nations that are today in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in terms of life expectancy for newborn girls. These days, it ranks 29th.

In 1980, the infant mortality rate in the United States was about the same as in Germany. Today, American babies die at almost twice the rate of German babies.

“On nearly all indicators of mortality, survival and life expectancy, the United States ranks at or near the bottom among high-income countries,” says a report on the nation’s health by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

From: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/29/business/economy/income-inequality-is-costing-the-us-on-social-issues.html

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Come Holy Spirit, guide us on the way to what is right.

For the grace to find God in the challenges and problems of life, we pray…

For the grace to find God in all the people of our planet, we pray…

For immigrants and refugees who have come to our nation, we pray…

For the people of Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, South Sudan, and other troubled lands, we pray…

For the people of our nation who are without productive work or adequate income, we pray…

For children who grow up in poverty and good educational opportunity, we pray…

For our planet under so much stress from global warming, fracking, oil spills and many other abuses, we pray…

For our political leaders, that they may seek the common good, we pray…

Prayer

The following prayer for the Feast of the Ascension is from the “This is Church” website: http://www.thisischurch.com/prayer_worship/intercession/inter020512.htm

Christ, let me see You in others

Christ, let others see You in me

Christ, let me see.

You are the caller,

You are the poor,

You are the stranger

At the door.

You are the wanderer,

The unfed,

You are the homeless

With no bed.

You are the man

Driven insane.

You are the child

Crying in pain.

You are the other

Who comes to me.

Open my eyes that

I may see.

Images

https://www.facebook.com/NetworkLobby

http://spain.slu.edu/about_slu_madrid/ignatian_community.html

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