THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD– SOLEMNITY
1)Acts 1:1-11 2) Ephesians 1:17-23 3)Luke 24:46-53
Gospel LK 24:46-53
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city
until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany,
raised his hands, and blessed them.
As he blessed them he parted from them
and was taken up to heaven.
They did him homage
and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.
1) From where did Jesus go to heaven? Từ nơi nào Chúa Giesu lên trời?
2) What is the promise of God Father? Chúa Cha hứa điều gì?
3) What did Apostles do when Jesus go to heaven? Các Tông đồ đã làm gì khi Chúa Giesu lên trời?
FOCUS: Jesus has prepared the way for us, and sent the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Today’s celebration of the Ascension of the Lord can get lost. It comes between two other significant moments in the life a young Church. A few weeks ago, we celebrated the greatest day on the liturgical calendar, the Resurrection of the Lord. In a few days, we will celebrate another important event for a fledgling Church, the Descent of the Holy Spirit.
Today, the Apostles are less afraid than they were when Jesus came to them on that first Easter, but losing him today for a second time could not have been easy. In our first reading, they are left staring up at heaven. In the Gospel, they leave rejoicing filled with great joy. So which is it? Are they bewildered or joy-filled.? Actually they are both.
The Apostles have journeyed with Jesus for three years. They have witnessed the miracles and the parables. They have also witnessed the resentments and the ridicule. They have just witnessed his torturous death and his glorious Resurrection. It has truly been a rollercoaster ride of giant proportions.
Such is the life of discipleship we live even today as we gather to celebrate the moment between Easter and Pentecost. We are a people living in a kingdom established here on earth, but not yet part of its fullness found in the next life. It is an in-between moment for the Church, and in our own lives. How we choose to face such moments tells us how resilient our faith is, or whether there is work to be done to strengthen our reliance on Jesus and on his promises.
It is always going to be easier to have faith when things are going well. It is in those in-between moments that we learn a great deal about ourselves. It is okay to stop and stare at what is unclear or confusing – as long as we find joy in the journey, as the disciples in both readings eventually did [even though we don’t hear about it in the first reading]. It is here we discover the need to go deeper in our trust in Jesus’ promise not to ever leave us orphaned.
It is in these in-between moments we also realize we are never alone in facing any challenge that is before us. For though Jesus’ human form ascended into heaven, he is here present in word and sacrament. The Holy Spirit dwells within and among us. By God’s grace, may we have all that Saint Paul prayed for, for those who lived in Ephesus:
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.