June 1, 2014: The Ascension of the Lord
Catholic Social Teaching: Care for God’s Creation
“Care for the earth and for the environment is a moral issue. Protecting the land, water and air we share is a religious duty of stewardship and reflects our responsibility to born and unborn children, who are most vulnerable to environmental assault. Effective initiatives are required for energy conservation and the development of alternative, renewable, and clean-energy resources. Our Conference offers a distinctive call to seriously address global climate change, focusing on the virtue of prudence, pursuit of the common good, and the impact on the poor, particularly on vulnerable workers and the poorest nations. The United States should lead in contributing to the sustainable development of poorer nations and promoting greater justice in sharing the burden of environmental blight, neglect and recovery.” Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship,(87), USCCB
First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
Psalm: 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”541 The lifting up of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by his Ascension into heaven, and indeed begins it. Jesus Christ, the one priest of the new and eternal Covenant, “entered, not into a sanctuary made by human hands. . . but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”542 There Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he “always lives to make intercession” for “those who draw near to God through him”.543 As “high priest of the good things to come” he is the centre and the principal actor of the liturgy that honours the Father in heaven.” (662)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Ascension of the Lord, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person but also the social relations existing between men. As the Apostle Paul teaches, life in Christ makes the human person’s identity and social sense — with their concrete consequences on the historical and social planes — emerge fully and in a new manner: “For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ” (Gal3:26-28). In this perspective, Church communities, brought together by the message of Jesus Christ and gathered in the Holy Spirit round the Risen Lord (cf. Mt 18:20, 28:19-20; Lk 24:46-49), offer themselves as places of communion, witness and mission, and as catalysts for the redemption and transformation of social relationships. (52)
Faith in Jesus Christ makes it possible to have a correct understanding of social development, in the context of an integral and solidary humanism. In this regard, the contribution of theological reflection offered by the Church’s social Magisterium is very useful: “Faith in Christ the Redeemer, while it illuminates from within the nature of development, also guides us in the task of collaboration. In the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, we read that Christ is ‘the firstborn of all creation,’ and that ‘all things were created through him’ and for him (Col 1:15-16). In fact, ‘all things hold together in him’, since ‘in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things’ (v. 20). A part of this divine plan, which begins from eternity in Christ, the perfect ‘image’ of the Father, and which culminates in him, ‘the firstborn from the dead’ (v. 15-18), in our own history, marked by our personal and collective effort to raise up the human condition and to overcome the obstacles which are continually arising along our way. It thus prepares us to share in the fullness which ‘dwells in the Lord’ and which he communicates ‘to his body, which is the Church’ (v. 18; cf. Eph 1:22-23). At the same time sin, which is always attempting to trap us and which jeopardizes our human achievements, is conquered and redeemed by the ‘reconciliation’ accomplished by Christ (cf. Col 1:20)”(327)
What ministry is your passion? Care for creation, supporting immigration reform, disabling the death penalty, improving literacy, assisting the elderly, seek inclusion of the disabled in society, promoting fair trade….continue the list ! To share your passion requires you first teach others about the need for your ministry. What problems impacting the common good should you share with others to encourage their participation in your ministry? Teaching others shares the facts, not forces an agenda on them. You help to open their eyes to a reality they never realized, were never exposed to. You help them to see life is not about feeding their ego and self-gratification, but grasping life in humble service to enlighten the eyes of their hearts.
Doubt filled the hearts of disciples as they went to the mountain where Jesus ordered them. In obedience, they worshiped, but doubt of their capacity to live the hope that belongs to His call engulfed their souls. Then Jesus’ words of empowerment permeated the gathering. Words sending them forth, not on their own aversion, but in the name of the Trinitarian God. They were not to stand and look at the sky, gasping in disbelief or feeling of abandonment, for they were to venture forth offering the Triune sacramental grace of baptism to share the living water they had received. The freedom of rebirth to the openness of God’s commandments. A teach ability flowing from the passion of discipleship to the receptivity of a disciple jarred from prayerful gazing at Jesus to realize Jesus is within us, so we go forth consumed with promise, instead of being consumed by fear about living in the world. A totally prayerful posture purges faith of action to share our passion and offering practical applicability in sharing knowledge of the Lord through our living as Church, His Body alive in the world today. Prayer is a balm to soften our soul, not an all-encompassing praxis. A dialogue to enter the mystery, but a time comes on our journey to teach others and share our passion that Jesus left us with from His Ascension.
Individual Reflection: Matthew 28:16-20
As we go forth as disciples, may we do so in the spirit of non-violence that Jesus personified. Coordinate the pledge of non-violence being incorporated into parish, for a meditation after communion, at ministry blessings or a prayer service.
Family Reflection: Matthew 28:16-20
What skills does your family have that you might be able to teach others? How might you turn the skills into a ministry at your parish?
Lord, thank you for calling us to the mountain, so we may emboss our souls with worship. Give us the courage to go forth as your disciples, with hearts enlightened by your hope. Let us always be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance to teach others the freedom and blessings of observing all you have commanded us. In Jesus’ dear name we pray, Amen
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born May 20, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern