June 2, 2019: Ascension of the Lord
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
The Gospel offers us the chance to live life on a higher plane, but with no less intensity: “Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others”. When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelization, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic personal fulfilment. For “here we discover a profound law of reality: that life is attained and matures in the measure that it is offered up in order to give life to others. This is certainly what mission means”. Consequently, an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow… And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervour, who have first received the joy of Christ”. (10) Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis
First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
Psalm: 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrews 9:24-28;10:19-23
Gospel: Luke 24:46-53
Catechism of the Catholic Church
This final stage stays closely linked to the first, that is, to his descent from heaven in the Incarnation. Only the one who “came from the Father” can return to the Father: Christ Jesus.538 “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.” Left to its own natural powers humanity does not have access to the “Father’s house”, to God’s life and happiness. Only Christ can open to man such access that we, his members, might have confidence that we too shall go where he, our Head and our Source, has preceded us. (661) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Ascension of the Lord, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Matthew 28:19-20 (Gospel Acclamation) and Luke 24:46-49
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” (Gal 3:26-28). 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)
The salvation offered by God to his children requires their free response and acceptance. It is in this that faith consists, and it is through this that “man freely commits his entire self to God”, responding to God’s prior and superabundant love (cf. 1 Jn 4:10) with concrete love for his brothers and sisters, and with steadfast hope because “he who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23). In fact, the divine plan of salvation does not consign human creatures to a state of mere passivity or of lesser status in relation to their Creator, because their relationship to God, whom Jesus Christ reveals to us and in whom he freely makes us sharers by the working of the Holy Spirit, is that of a child to its parent: the very relationship that Jesus lives with the Father (cf. Jn 15-17; Gal 4:6-7). (39)
Is joy evident in your faith, your parish community, the Church, as the Body of Christ? Through the Holy Spirit, if we experience and believe Christ suffered, rose from the dead on the third day, so to offer repentance for the forgiveness of sin available to all humanity, in all nations, how can we not be joyful? When Jesus spoke those words to HIs disciples, led them to Bethany, blessed them and ascended to the Father, the disciples did Him homage and returned to. Jerusalem with great joy ! As we go to our temples today, our churches and living our lives as temples of the Holy Spirit, how do we emulate that joy? Or do we scoff against non-believers as pagans, grumble over the state of affairs and feel unempowered to work for change as a voice for peace in the world? Belief should infuse us with joy, empower us with hope, for Jesus did not ascend to leave us distanced from the Divine. From His ascending, believers, if they are receptive, receive the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of their heart to be enlightened in deeper knowledge of the Lord. His ways that belong to the call of being a disciple. Our spiritual inheritance to give us fullness of life in every way and eventually eternal salvation to those who eagerly await Him. Do we take that grace to have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way Jesus opened for us through His once and for all sacrifice? So as we approach the gift of the altar each time to receive HIs real presence, let us approach with sincere heart and absolute trust, with hearts sprinkled clean from any doubting conscience to hold unwaveringly to our confession that give us hope for the Lord who promised us eternal life is trustworthy. As the angels approached the men of Galilee to ask why they continued to peer into the sky after Jesus was taken up into heaven to affirm the Lord would return, we must not be consumed by what was but attentive to the mission entrusted us by the Holy Spirit. For with our future assured, joy should propel us to offer praise while we pursue the unfolding kingdom of God here and now. Taking the cue of Luke to Theophilus, a friend of God, a reference to all believers of who we are, the Gospel account of Jesus’ actions and teachings into the early Church’s emergence and infusion of the Holy Spirit, we continue the legacy today in the familiarity of our Judea, the challenges of our Samarias to build bridges, to our uncharted endeavors that seem like the ends of the earth. A mission, a way of life expressing the joy for all Jesus has done for us, all he continues to do for us and His promise our eternal salvation.
What mission have you been entrusted with? How should you stop peering into the sky and trust the Holy Spirit to enliven you to act?
With Pentecost next weekend look for an Eucharistic procession to attend, such as the 203rd Annual Mission San Antonio de Paula outdoor mass and procession through the village:
Prayer: Prayerfully reflect on how you praise God and live with joy in your life
One can sin against God’s love in various ways:
– indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity; it fails to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power.
– ingratitude fails or refuses to acknowledge divine charity and to return him love for love.
– lukewarmness is hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love; it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.
– acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.
– hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments
(2094) Catechism of the Catholic Church
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.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born May 27, 2019 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.