Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Ascension

Luke 24:46-53

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Margaret Foley

Published: May 30, 2019

Read Luke 24:46-53

Jesus said to his disciples:  “Thus it is written that the Christ would sufferand rise from the dead on the third dayand that repentance, for... Read More…


Like Mary, whose name we bear, we are called to hear the word of God and keep it. Our attentive listening shapes in us a contemplative and prophetic attitude towards the whole of life.   (Constitutions of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 47)

In today's Gospel we listen to the story of Jesus departing from his disciples and followers. Two of the biggest moments in life are birth and death.  In most cultures they carry a formal registration process of beginning and ending. Since the experience of the Resurrection this group has been filled with new hope.
Perhaps they are daring to ask questions among themselves as to what might lie ahead.

Will it be the same?  How will this new Jesus be present in our midst? Are we going to experience a new kind of life with him?

Luke tells us what Jesus said to them: "And now I am sending down to you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city then, until you are clothed with the power from on high." This is an invitation to a journey "starting from Jerusalem."
Jerusalem has always been the central focus in their lives as observant Jews but now a new era is opening  -  starting from Jerusalem to "the ends of the earth".

He took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. Now as he blessed them, he withdrew.........

In our lives we know the pain of death, of loss, of forever absence......do we expect this relatively young group of loyal disciples (men and women) to break down in grief? But they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy!  For them it was not an ending. They prayed together blessing God.....waiting for what would come....to be "clothed with the power from on high".

They know now their new role and are ready to take forward Jesus's mission.  A new life begins which will move through time reaching you and me in the 21st century.

Are we ready to stand at Bethany with this group?
Can we move forward with joy - taking this message out into a dangerous world?
Are we confident, empowered with the Holy Spirit, in building a future?

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