Reflection – Pastors Notes:
Pastors Notes: You need to see the entirety of your life as a mission. Try to do so by listening to God in prayer and recognizing the signs that he gives you. Always ask the Spirit what Jesus expects from you at every moment of your life and in every decision you must make, so as to discern its place in the mission you have received. Allow the Spirit to forge in you the personal mystery that can reflect Jesus Christ in today’s world.  May you come to realize what that word is, the message of Jesus that God wants to speak to the world by your life. Let yourself be transformed. Let yourself be renewed by the Spirit, so that this can happen, lest you fail in your precious mission. The Lord will bring it to fulfilment despite your mistakes and missteps, provided that you do not abandon the path of love but remain ever open to his supernatural grace, which purifies and enlightens.  (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, April 2018)
2O18 May 13
Seventh Sunday of Easter, Ascension of the Lord.
First Reading, Acts 1.1-11, “And a cloud took him out of their sight.” (9b)
The Psalm 47, “God is king over the nations.” (8a)
Second Reading, Ephesians 4.1-13, “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself captive.” (8)
The Gospel, Mark 16.15-20, “The Lord Jesus after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” (19)
Luke’s reporting of the ascension is recorded in two places, at the end of the gospel and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. These two portions together give a broader and elaborate picture of the last visible presence of Jesus on earth. Just before the ascension reminding the disciples of all that is written about him in the whole scripture is present in the gospels according to Mark and Luke. Mark is the only one who reported that Jesus took his seat in heaven at the right hand of God. St. Paul also in the letter to Ephesians speaks of God seating Christ “at his hand in the heavenly places.” (1.20) He also speaks about Christ as the one who came down from and going back to heaven. The important fact we must keep in mind is that Christ was the first to enter heaven from among all humans. Thus, he is the first-born human in heaven. Our happiness in this happening is that the humanity he took to heaven was given to him by one among us. It is our humanity he took to heaven. With that humanity, now transformed and made fit for immortality and life in eternity, he is seated at the right hand of God the Almighty Father to reign with the Father. We humans are given a share in this reign because of Christ’s human incarnation. His seating at the right hand of the Father is also a guarantee for us that we will reach the same kingdom where Christ reigns. Jesus while on earth, just before his sacrificial death, prayed for us to the Father that we be allowed to be in the same place where he is and will be. It is impossible for the Father to deny this prayer. We have every reason to be of good cheer. In between we have work to finish, work as St. Paul says, “of ministry for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 1.12) The work of building up the kingdom, the Body of Christ, is to be done here on earth. Each of us form the building blocks. Each is assisting the chief builder, Christ the Lord. Jesus has only laid the foundation for the kingdom. Building on this foundation is left to us. Our strength in working on the foundation and for the kingdom is the strength of the kingdom. The two men who appeared in white robe after the ascension of our Lord in effect were telling those who stayed back fixing their eyes on heaven that they need to go back to complete the work Jesus started. Jesus assured them before he took the ‘flight’ that assistance would come soon. He also assured them that he would be with them till the end of ages. Ascension reminds and prompts us to be on the work of building up the kingdom.