Gospel Reflection for Ascension Sunday Year B – May 17th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.
The feast of the Ascension seems to be more about the apostles going out than Jesus going up! As Jesus goes to his Father, the message is to take over the gospel now, and to be witnesses to him. We are to share what we have received, speak of what we have seen and heard.
WITNESSING FOR LIFE
Witnesses to a road accident can often contradict each other. They get mixed up in what they saw or heard. Or they may have only glanced at the event and moved on. We can be witnesses of Jesus who really stayed with the event, not just with a glance. Witnessing to Jesus is for life, and involves all of life. It is to have seen and heard the best story ever told, and the most influential life ever lived.
We witness to Jesus in prayer, in reading the gospel and in service of others in love. Prayer means a time to be in touch with God who is reaching out to us all the time. The gospel is what feeds our souls and minds, a daily opening to the words and deeds of Jesus. Loving service brings us to witness in a real way the care of God as we give and receive care.
This is what we give to the ascended Lord and receive from him. The word of God is divine words in human words. All of our time with God is linking heaven and earth, and we are sharers in his divinity as he is in our humanity. Far from being the absence of Jesus, it is his presence in a new way among us.
Lord, may your kingdom come!
Donal Neary SJ