Engaging Faith | Fri, May 3, 2013
Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern
Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23
May 9 or 12: Feast of the Ascension
May 12: Mother’s Day in the United States and Canada and elsewhere
May 15: International Day of Families http://social.un.org/index/Family/InternationalObservances/International...
May 21: Pentecost
“The true apostle is first of all a person who is ‘tuned in,’ a servant ready for God's action.”
Pope John Paul II Athens, May 5, 2001
“The only way to peace is forgiveness. To accept and give forgiveness makes possible a new quality of rapport between people, interrupting the spiral of hatred and revenge and breaking the chains of evil which bind the heart of rivals.… To love the one who offends you disarms the adversary and is able to transform a battlefield into a place of supportive cooperation.”
Pope John Paul II, Message for Lent 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.
Pope 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
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 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 2,000 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.
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 recent acts of terrorism and violence?
•In recent earthquakes in Iran and China?
•In the building collapse in Bangladesh?
•In the ongoing recession and economic crisis?
From a talk given by Fr. Greg Boyle S.J. at Creighton University and found at:
My prevailing image at the moment – of the kind of God I think we have, which in fact undergirds this kind of strategy of Jesus – comes by way of a Jesuit with whom I live, Bill Cain, who is from the New York Province, a writer. I don’t know if you ever saw a TV show called, “Nothing Sacred.” He wrote that and writes a bunch of other things. I live in a community of seven Jesuits. Bill and I live in the garage - you know, he is where one car should be, and I’m where another car should be. We call it the two seasons.
Bill, at some point in his life, stopped doing what he was doing in order to be there for his father who was dying of cancer. His father still had his mental facilities and all, but was dying; had shriveled because of the ravages of cancer to about 90 pounds. Bill, in the last weeks of his father's life, was doing everything: bathing him, clothing him, feeding him, carrying him to bed at night. At the end of every day (in the role reversal that sort of happens to those who have ever taken care of ailing parents – all of the sudden you become the parent at a lot of levels) Bill would read his father to sleep at night, just as his father would have read him to sleep when Bill was a little kid. He put his father in bed, his father was very alert, very mentally alive. Bill would start to read, and he was usually very tired every night because this was an exhausting task. And he would be reading and his father would just be staring at him, wouldn’t take his eyes off him, big smile, big huge eyes, almost afraid to blink for fear he'd miss seeing, catching this glimpse of his son. And Bill would be reading and he'd look up and he would see his father’s look, and say, “Hey come on. Let’s have a little cooperation here. I read. You fall asleep. That's the idea.”
And his father would sort of whisper, “Okay sorry,” close his eyes, and Bill would start to read. All of a sudden BING, one eye would open, because he couldn’t take his eye off his kid. And Bill would see him again, and he would say, “Hey come on, please. I want to go to bed.” “Oh, I'm sorry.” So he would close one eye and BING, other eye, and he would try to catch another glimpse of his kid. And his father died and he recalled this and it was undeniable, absolute, unconditional acceptance. Ours is a God that can’t take his eyes off of you. Doesn’t think about how you screwed up, doesn’t think about how you’ve gone wrong, doesn’t know what your talking about when you talk about how you have disappointed. Ours is a God that can’t close God’s eyes, for fear he’ll miss something.
Actions - Links
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 Catholic Update can be found at: http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0303.asp
Speak up about immigration reform at one or more of these sites:
“….it was Jesus himself who said we're going to be judged at the last judgment on whether or not we welcome the stranger. And if we welcome the immigrant, the refugee, the stranger, we welcome him.”
- Archbishop Timothy Dolan
Find out about “Imago Dei: 30 years of the refugee experience on stage” at:
Center for Immigration Studies estimates there to be about 11 million immigrants in the United States without legal papers. http://www.cis.org/
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, the Congo 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 without good educational opportunities, we pray….
For our planet, under so much stress from climate change, oil spills and many other abuses, we pray….
For our political leaders, that they may 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,
You are the homeless
With no bed.
You are the man
You are the child
Crying in pain.
You are the other
Who comes to me.
Open my eyes that
I may see.