Ascension [b]

Engaging Faith | Mon, May 14, 2012

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

Lectionary reflections for Ascension.

Ascension [b]

Thursday, May 17, 2012 or Sunday, May 20, 2012
(depending on the diocese in the United States)


     Acts 1:1-11
     Ephesians 1:17-23 or Ephesians 4:1-13 or Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
     Mark 16:15-20


May 19-20: G8 summit at Camp David
May 21: Victoria Day in Canada
May 22:  International Day for Biological Diversity  
May 24: World Day of Prayer for the Church in China
May 27: 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 struggle with difficult questions and opposing views
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, conservatives and liberals, 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 sent 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.” 

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.”

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 situation?
How have you experienced God in the differences of opinion in our church?


What is God saying in big issues in our world?
* In political disputes and election in the United States?
* In the debate about “climate change?”
* Around the issues of same-sex marriage?

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:

Violence Against Women Act
“The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.” Consider supporting their campaign to save the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) at

Safe Chemicals Act
The Sierra Club invites you to sign on to their letter today calling on Congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act.
“Did you know that in the United States, companies aren't required to prove the chemicals they use are safe? Did you know that it's been thirty-five years since Congress has taken action to protect Americans from toxic chemicals? That's thirty-five years of new science and research that's gone ignored. That’s thirty-five years of children and families put at risk.”

May 22:  International Day for Biological Diversity  
Find out more at
This year’s theme is Marine Biodiversity.
Download the booklet for this year at:

“Crazy Facts”

Commercial overexploitation of the world’s fish stocks is so severe that almost a third of all fish stocks are being over-exploited, and some 13 percent have collapsed completely. Between 30 and 35 percent of the global extent of critical marine environments such as seagrasses, mangroves and coral reefs are estimated to have been destroyed. Underwater noise is limiting the potential of whales and other marine animals to communicate with each other, plastic debris continues to kill wildlife that ingests and becomes entangled in it, and pollution from land is creating areas of coastal waters that are almost devoid of oxygen.

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, 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 “This is Church”.

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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