Ascension Thursday

May 19, 2020 | Gospel Reflections

Matthew 28: 16 – 20

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Rebecca Spires, SNDdeN

Jesus’ message is very clear: Go to the whole world, let no one be left out. Teach what I taught you, do what I did. It reminds me of Mother St. Joseph’s words: “Live with the life of Jesus, love with his heart, think with his mind, act with his strength.” (Spiritual Counsels 2) There they were: Jesus and the eleven. Only eleven and some of them still had doubts. But Jesus is passing on the mission to them, to us. With all our weaknesses and doubts and inabilities, defects … it was the eleven and us he chose and to whom he entrusts the mission he received from the Father. The mission is simple, but not easy. It is comprehensive, large, immense, infinite. It requires hearts as big as the world. Yes, the task is impossible! After all, the eleven and we are a drop in the ocean.

He never said it would be easy or successful. But he promises, assures us of his continued presence, company and strength to carry on no matter what. He has all authority in heaven and on earth and he chooses us to continue his mission; we are authorized. And he promises to be with us every day until the end of the world. We are not alone for an instant, in any situation, no matter how difficult or painful it may be.

He says go, go out, get to everyone without exception. But now, during the pandemic of 2020, we have to stay at home. We need to adapt our mission using all the technological means at our disposal to reach those who most need encouragement, consolation, those who fight against the spread of the disease and care for the suffering, those who have lost loved ones in this pandemic. We pray a lot for those who suffer, who are afraid, who don’t know what else to do, for those who dream that with the lessons of this experience we can transform society. Since the mission is to go to the whole world, without leaving anyone out, we also pray for those who madly put everyone in danger by worrying more about the economy than about life.

And we are dreaming and preparing, planning what it will be like after the great exit from this isolation. If the normal that we were used to was consumerism, relationships via virtual media without paying attention to who is next to me or in front of me, economy above people, Earth and nature mere objects to take what you want and discard or kill the rest. If this was normal, it is best to never go back to it. Let us recreate, reinvent our society, put into practice all that we are learning during this extended retreat, fully aware that Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father in glory, is here in our midst.

Matthew 28: 16 – 20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

The Gospel of the Lord…

Meet Sister Rebecca Spires, SNDdeN

A sister of Notre Dame since 1958 and missionary in Brazil since 1970, Sister Rebeca’s main ministry is with indigenous peoples in the extreme north of Brazil. At present, the main focus of this mission is the formation of indigenous ministers of the sacraments. She also helped initiate and is in constant collaboration with the Mission at the Borders which joins efforts with teams in French Guyana and Suriname to prevent and halt human traffic, infantile prostitution, domestic violence and assist migrants, both those passing and those who, unable to move on, live in the most dire poverty. And in the coming and going the people who live on the street and have nothing at all have won her heart. While there is so little she is able to do for them, they know they will always get a warm embrace, a shoulder to cry on, a listener.