May 28, 2017: Ascension of the Lord
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
“There is nothing passive about Jesus or his Beatitudes. He commands his disciples to get up, get moving, get with it and carry on his mission of peace, justice and non-violence…These are words of empowerment, which Jesus uses to mobilize powerless people.” From The Beatitudes of Peace, by John Dear (p. 147)
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.” 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.”543 There Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he “always lives to make intercession” for “those who draw near to God through him”. As “high priest of the good things to come” he is the center and the principal actor of the liturgy that honors 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” (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)
Jesus did not just appear to the disciples, but spoke to them about the Kingdom of God. A vision articulated in His ministry by miracles, proclaimed in teachings to the multitudes and lived in companioning the marginalized. A mission not eulogized with remembrances, but a foundational paradigm carried forth beyond the walls of Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth. For the disciples relied not just on internal fortitude, but the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The power to witness, the power of mountain top experience expressed from the seashores, in valleys and on the plains. An exhortation we must heed as Jesus’ disciples, for we too have experienced the unquenchable fire of the Holy Spirit, our personal mountaintop experiences with the Lord, so wherever our feet tread we pray and live in the Kingdom of God. A cue to remember the Psalm calling us to worship with gladness, joy, exuberance of clapping our hands reveling in praise. Always mindful of doubt creeping into our persona has root only in gods of desire, not faith in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A faith garnering disciples in all nations, for faith knows no human created boundaries to separate us from knowing and sharing the love of God. As disciples, the Lord calls us to teach others His ways. Do we teach with demeanor of chastised, moping children or radiate the joy of forgiveness, the newness of life living in the Kingdom of God? Do we teach obsessed with rubrics looking at the letter of the law or live profound words of the Gospel by the lives we lead? Do we teach by seeking to transform societal injustices or lives witnessing indifference? We never live the call of discipleship alone, for we possess Jesus’ assurance He is with us always. So we never predispose ourselves to wallow in gazing at the unknown, the endless possibilities, variables and parameters that if, could or would define faith, our lives as disciples. Discipleship takes us beyond thinking and living with our heads, to relish enlightenment of the eyes of our heart. We come to realize we exist not individually, but as the Body of Christ. Lives etched in faith, molded by living the Gospel, fulfilled down to ever nuance for we trust in the promise of Jesus, as we live His call to discipleship.
Individual Reflection: Acts 1:1-11
As disciples of the Gospel let us remember Jesus’ call to non-violence…consider starting a Pax Christi chapter at your parish: https://paxchristiusa.org
Family Reflection: Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Does your family’s worship reflect gladness, joy and praise? How can you encourage your parish’s worship to infuse more gladness, joy and praise?
Prayer: As we ponder our discipleship and remember Mary during this month of May…
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary …
Lord you left your Mother in our midst that she might accompany us.
May she take care of us and protect us on our journey, in our hearts, in our faith.
May she make us disciples like herself, missionaries like herself.
May she teach us to go out onto the streets.
May she teach us to step outside ourselves . . .
May she, by her meekness, by her peace, show us the way.
-Pope Francis at conclusion of meeting with young people from Argentina on July 25, 2013
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 15, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.