Michel de Verteuil
It is, of course, significant that this moment occurred immediately after his apparent defeat and after they had betrayed him.
By meditating on the story, we discover similar moments in our own relationship with God, with a cause, or with people who have touched our lives.
- Verses 47 and 48 are the conclusion of a teaching by which Jesus “opened the minds of the apostles to understand the scriptures.” You can interpret “the scriptures” as referring to all traditional wisdom.
- Verse 19 stands by itself as a dramatic call to wait patiently until the moment of grace.
- Verses 50 to 53 are St Luke’s account of the ascension; every word is symbolical.
Discover through your meditation the paradox of the apostles “returning to Jerusalem
full of joy” after such a sorrowful parting.
Today we read the story — only found in Luke in his gospel which we are about to read now, and in his book of Acts which we have just read a few moments ago — of the mystery we are celebrating. Jesus commanded that the forgiveness of sins be preached to all and then was carried from their sight but was still with them in their hearts and in their gathering: that is how Jesus is with us here now, and still commanding us to make known the forgiveness of sins.
cent preface (Preface of the Ascension I, P 26; Missal, p. 429). So the homily could take the form of a meditation on that preface with a few glosses of explanation. Alas, when this preface is simply spoken out in the Liturgy of the Eucharist today, it is all over so quickly that its beauty and theology can be simply missed – so a meditation on upon it will prepare the assembly to appreciate it more when actually used.
Lord, we remember a time when we had given ourselves to a cause and became disillusioned:
- a trusted companion let us down,
- the political party we had joined was rejected at the polls,
- we turned away from an addiction but fell back into it,
- our Church community closed down a movement we had started.
Then something happened to make us realize that the movement was still alive:
- a new leader took charge,
- old companions returned and new ones joined us,
- in a moment of prayer we felt a new heart had been put into us.
It was as if Jesus had appeared to us and said,
“So you see how it is written that an Anointed One must suffer,
and only on the third day rise from the dead.”
“Not yet, mister.” Response of an evangelical pastor
Lord, we pray for the people of South Africa,
and all those who are starting on the path of conversion.
Let them not forget how it is written
that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead.
-we have turned away from sin;
-we have completed a course of study and now understand the message;
-many people admire us.
Send Jesus to remind us that if we want repentance for the forgiveness of sins
to be preached to all the nations,
we must begin from Jerusalem where we betrayed our cause and were welcomed back.
Then we will be witnesses to your forgiveness.
Martin Luther King, accepting the Nobel Peace prize
Lord, we pray today for those who are tired of waiting for your grace
-parents with a child addicted to drugs,
-leaders working for Church renewal,
-third world people caught in the debt trap.
Though you are delaying, you are sending down what you promised,
so they must stay in the city until they are clothed with the power from on high.
Lord, we thank you for the great people you have sent into our lives
- they widened our horizons,
- helped us to see new possibilities,
- showed us the implications of our sins.
Like Jesus with his disciples, they led us to the outskirts of where we lived,
lifted their hands and blessed us and then withdrew from us,
leaving us to return to our daily lives full of joy.
We were sad, of course, and felt tremendous respect for them,
but their being carried up to heaven did not destroy us.
We went back to Jerusalem full of joy,
and from then on we were continually in the temple praising you.
The angel Gabriel asked, “Well, now that you are back in Heaven, who will continue your work on earth?" Jesus said, "While I was on earth, I gathered a group of people around me who believed in me and loved me. They will continue to spread the Gospel and carry on the work of the Church.” Gabriel was perplexed. "You mean Peter, who denied you thrice and all the rest who ran away when you were crucified? You mean to tell us that you left them to carry on your work? And what will you do if this plan doesn't work?" Jesus said, "I have no other plan -- it must work." Truly, Jesus has no other plan than to depend on the efforts of his followers!
4) Great commissions: