May 16, 2021 - Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
“(I) urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” Ephesians 4: 1-3
Readings for the Ascension of the Lord
Ephesians 1: 17-23
Mark 16: 15-20
Readings for the 7th Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:15–17, 20a, 20c–26
1st Letter of John 4:11–16
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles for the Ascension, the Risen Christ tells the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father that they will soon be baptized with the Holy Spirit. However, the apostles were focusing on how the kingdom of Israel would be restored, not on seeking what the Father’s Will was for them at this time. Jesus looks to the future when the Holy Spirit would be bestowed on His disciples and tells them that they will be His witnesses, not only in Jerusalem and Israel, but even “to the ends of the. Earth.” And after Jesus had proclaimed His Father’s Will for the Apostles in the future, “he was lifted up and a cloud took him from their sight.” And then the figures so prominent after the Resurrection, “persons dressed in white garments,” promised that the apostles would see the Risen Christ again in in their future lives. The reading from Acts for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, focuses on two more disciples, Barsabbas and Matthias, as witnesses of the Resurrection. Interestingly, the lot fell to Matthias who was then counted as one of the apostles to replace Judas.
In St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he prays for all Christians that they also must look intently for the Lord with the eyes of their heart, that their (and our) hearts will be enlightened that we all may know the hope that belongs with God’s call in our lives. And Paul reminds his readers that for us who are called, in every age and today, form the Body of Christ for our world, so much in need of healing. The First Letter of Saint John exhorts us to remain in God’s Love, which is brought to perfection in us as we truly love our neighbor.
In the Gospel for the Ascension, the Risen Christ enjoins His disciples to go “into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” This proclamation of the Good News envelopes all of creation, our whole earth. And, the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday reminds us that we are all consecrated to the truth, as were the apostles, to proclaim the Good News with our entire lives.
What we say and what we do, in living out our faith in the Risen Lord, affects our whole world.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“First of all, love the Lord God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.” (Translation – RB 1980) Rule of Benedict, Chapter 4, Verse 1-2 & 20
“I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord. I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.” Cf.John 14: 18