The Gospel this weekend is this:
He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17 These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages.
18 They will pick up serpents (with their hands), and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.
20 But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
The first reading is this:
In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
2 until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
3 He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days * and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father * about which you have heard me speak;
5 for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit."
6 When they had gathered together they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going * to restore the kingdom to Israel?+"
7 * He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has stablished by his own authority.
8 * But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
9 When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
10 While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
11 They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away.
13 When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.
14 All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
15 During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said,
16 "My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
17 He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.
The second reading is either of these:
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.
18 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,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might,
20 which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
21 far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.
22 And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,
3 striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
4 one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
8 Therefore, it says: "He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men."
9 What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended into the lower (regions) of the earth?
10 The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
11 * And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
12 to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, * for building up the body of Christ,
13 until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, * to the extent of the full stature of Christ,
This Sunday we recall the Ascension of Jesus, and the fact that he left us much to do.
A leader who abandons his people does not seem a good leader, but the wonder of our faith is that when ascending, Jesus did not abandon us, but went more deeply within us. He went to the place for which he had always longed: to our minds and our hearts. This is the basis of our 'spiritual life'. The Gospel says 'They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and accompanied the word through signs'. (Mk 16:20). The second reading, the letter to the Ephesians, says that Christ is still around us. We live in Him. This is what we call 'the mystical body of Christ'.
But do we open the door for others? All people are called to be his dwelling. But He does not impose, and is not like an annoying visitor who is always giving out. He is put humbly in our hands. Do you invite him to dwell in you? If you do, he stays. From there on maybe those who meet you may feel like they have come across something of the love of God. Perhaps you will find 'dirty socks' also, but Christ has promised us to cleanse us over and over again, until love rises in us and we ascend to Eternal Life with him.
The Gospel invites us to work on 'the mission' that God gives us and make this one of the main objectives of our lives. The first Christian community lived it as well. Fortunately they did! This Sunday Jesus is sending on the mission. It is not a universal instruction about how each individual should live, but it is inviting everyone to seek themselves. Prayer is for this. As in the Gospel about the true vine, Christ tells us that if we are well connected to Him, we will bear fruit.
But what fruit? In the first reading the Apostles, as decent Jews, are asking Jesus if he is going to restore the Kingdom of Israel. He answers that it is not for them to know what the father has planned in his authority (Acts 1:7). I.e. we should not try to plan everything in life for ourselves but to listen carefully for what God wants. Listen to his incarnate Word and think of how he may want to 'incarnate' in us now. There is much work to be done. For this reason, the first reading has two Angels asking "men of Galilee, why are you there standing looking into the sky?" (Acts 1:11). It is a call for us to be active. This does not mean that 'contemplative' vocations are not active in the way that God wants for them, but I think that the vast majority of us Christians are called to go outside and 'stain our shoes' in the mud of the world (and in a wheelchairs also!). Of course, 'contemplation' forms part of this. Prayer is necessary to discover what God wants of us each day; and the image of the angels stunning those who are looking up to the sky, in the Gospel today, is a criticism of those who use prayer as a way of avoiding tasks or of 'hiding'. We will look at the sky, for from there on we’ll look at the world that surrounds us more deeply and hopefully then be able to love him as God wants!
Este domingorecordamos la Ascensión de Jesús y el hecho de que nos dejó mucho para hacer.
Un líder que abandona a su gente no parece buen líder, pero la maravilla de nuestra fe es que al ascender, Jesús no nos abandonó, sino que entró más profundamente en nosotros. Entró donde siempre había anhelado: en nuestras mentes y nuestros corazones. Esta es la base de nuestra 'vida espiritual'. El Evangelio dice 'Ellos fueron adelante y predicaron por todas partes, mientras el Señor trabajó con ellos y acompañó la palabra a través de señales.' (Mk 16:20). La segunda lectura, de la carta a los Efesios, dice que Cristo sigue rodeándonos. Vivimos en Él. Es lo que llamamos 'el Cuerpo Místico de Cristo'.
Pero ¿le abrimos la puerta? Estamos llamados todos a ser su morada. Pero Él no impone, y no es como un visitante pesado que está siempre dando la lata. El se pone humildemente en nuestras manos. ¿Le invitas a morar en ti? Si lo haces, Él se queda. Desde ahí, puede que los que se encuentren contigo sientan que han encontrado algo del amor de Dios. Quizás encontrarán 'calcetines sucios' también, pero Cristo nos ha prometido limpiarnos una y otra vez, hasta que el Amor resucite en nosotros y ascendamos a la Vida Eterna con Él. .
El evangelio nos invita a trabajar en 'la misión' que nos da Dios y hacer de esto uno de los objetivos principales de nuestra vida. La primera comunidad Cristiana lo vivió así, -¡menos mal que lo hicieron! El Evangelio de este Domingoempieza con Jesús llamando a la misión. No es una instrucción universal sobre cómo cada individuo debería vivir, sino que está invitando a cada uno a buscar por sí mismo. La oración es para esto. Como en el Evangelio de la semana pasada sobre la vid verdadera, Cristo nos dice que si estamos bien conectados a él, daremos fruto.
Pero ¿qué fruto? En la primera lectura los apóstoles, como buenos judíos, están preguntando a Jesús si va a restaurar el reino de Israel. El responde que no les toca a ellos saber el tiempo que el Padre ha establecido en su autoridad (Hech 1:7). Es decir, no deberíamos intentar planear todo en la vida por nuestra cuenta sino escuchar con atención lo que Dios quiere. Escuchemos a su Palabra encarnada y pensemos en cómo quiere 'encarnarse' en nosotros ahora. Hay mucho trabajo por hacer. Por eso, la primera lectura tiene a los dos ángeles preguntando “hombres de Galilea, ¿qué hacéis ahí parados mirando al cielo?” (Hechos 1:11). Es una llamada para nosotros a estar activos. Esto no quiere decir que las vocaciones 'contemplativas' no sean activas en la forma que Dios quiere para ellas, pero creo que la gran mayoría de nosotros Cristianos está llamada a salir por fuera y 'mancharse los zapatos' en el barro del mundo (¡y las sillas de ruedas también!). Por supuesto, 'la contemplación' forma parte de esto. La oración es necesaria para descubrir lo que Dios quiere de nosotros cada día; y la imagen de los ángeles espabilando a aquellos pasmados que miraban al cielo, en el Evangelio de hoy, es un crítica a aquellos que usan la oración como una forma de evitar tareas o de 'esconderse'. ¡Miremos bien al cielo, para desde allí mirar bien al mundo que nos rodea, y así poder amarlo bien, como Dios quiere!
Reflections of faith
Read and be inspired by the reflections and experiences of faith, based on the Word of God.