The Ascension [a]

Engaging Faith | Fri, May 27, 2011

By John Bucki, S.J.

Ascension [a]

Thursday, June 2, 2011 or Sunday, June 5, 2011

(depending on the diocese in the United States)



     Acts 1:1-11

     Ephesians 1:17-23 

     Mt 28:16-20



June: World Refugee Awareness Month

June 5: World Environment Day 

June 12: Pentecost




The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.

Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes


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


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


Look about you with Christ’s eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice? … 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.

Benedict XVI, Address to Young People and Seminarians, 19 April 2008


If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.

 Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Peace 2010

Thoughts for your consideration


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

The angels ask them “Why?”

It is as if the angels are saying:

“Why don’t you just look around? Maybe then you will see.”

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 hear God speak in the struggle for peace and justice.

You will be led into life and grace.

God dwells in the world.

Jesus is alive in the world.

The Spirit is in you.


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, human rights, conflicts in the law, and complexity in issues of justice.


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 of the Lord allows all this to happen.  As 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 in the world and its problems – our involvement with all the richness, diversity, and mystery of human life. We can “find God in all things.” 


Pope Benedict recently reminded young people on his trip to the United States: “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.”


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 recent big events in our world?

·         In the recent tornados and floods in our nation?

·         In the political struggle around the US budget and the nation’s debt?

·         In the debate about “climate change?”

·         In the experience of a changing limit all over the planet?


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 “Examen of Consciousness: Finding God in All Things, A popular Method of Prayer from St. Ignatius and his Followers” by Phyllis Zagano to be helpful.  The article from the Catholic Update Series can be found at:


Climate Change

In May, “a working group of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, one of the oldest scientific institutes in the world, issued a sobering report on the impacts for humankind as a result of the global retreat of mountain glaciers as a result of human activity leading to climate change.” You may read the report at  or read a summary at Get more info and suggestions for action at sites like or at


World Environment Day

June 5 is World Environment Day The theme this year isForests: Nature At Your Service.” 


“Crazy Facts”


The following is from

  • 350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere.
  • For all of human history until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained 275 parts per million of carbon dioxide.
  • By now ... the planet has about 388 parts per million CO2 – and this number is rising by about 2 parts per million every year.

o    The oceans are growing more acidic because of the CO2 they are absorbing, which makes it harder for animals like corals and clams to build and maintain their shells and skeletons. Coral reefs could start dissolving at an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 450-500 ppm.

o    The Arctic is sending us perhaps the clearest message that climate change is occurring much more rapidly than scientists previously thought. In the summer of 2007, sea ice was roughly 39% below the summer average for 1979-2000, a loss of area equal to nearly five United Kingdoms.



Prayers of Intercession


Response: Come Holy Spirit, guide us on the road to justice.

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

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

For the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and other troubled lands, we pray….

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

For all children who grow up in poverty without good nutrition or housing or schooling, we pray….

For our planet that we may learn to live within our means and preserve the diversity and wonder of our earth, we pray….

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




The following prayer for the Feast of the Ascension is from the “This is Church” website:


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.


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