May 13, 2010
Ascension of the Lord
And Jesus said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the Temple praising God.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.
Petition: Lord, help me to praise you and spread your message everywhere.
1. Chosen to Be Witnesses
What a beautiful scene. Our Lord suffered, died, rose on the third day and then spent 40 days with the apostles and the disciples. Now, just before he ascends into heaven, he leaves his Church with this message of love — mercy and forgiveness. The apostles experienced Our Lord’s mercy. Now he gives them the commission to go out into the whole world and preach forgiveness of sins in the power of the most holy of names: “Jesus.” Because the apostles preached as Christ had told them, we are all beneficiaries of Our Lord’s mercy. We have experienced this in our hearts. We, too, must bear witness to the work of Jesus Christ.
2. Clothed with Holy Power
We know that an apple seed, if given proper nourishment, will become an apple tree and produce many apples through many seasons. We know this through experience. God made the apple seed, and he gave it power to become an apple tree. Now Christ tells the apostles he will clothe them with power from on high so that they will be blessed with something that is well beyond their own human nature and power. They will be given the power to bear abundant fruit for the kingdom of Christ. Two thousand years later, Christ is still clothing people with this power from on high: with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which we received when we were baptized and in greater proportion when we were confirmed. Through prayer we begin to see with supernatural vision the person we can be and the fruit we can produce.
3. Witnesses With Joyful Hearts
The apostles were sad and dejected when Our Lord told them he would be leaving. Now, they are filled with awe and praise. The scales have fallen from their eyes. The shadow of the cross no longer strikes the same fear in their hearts. Christ has conquered sin and death, and they are witnesses to this, for they have experienced it in their own lives. This past Lent we accompanied Our Lord during his passion and death. We then witnessed his resurrection. Now we see him ascending into heaven. Like the apostles, we, too, are so moved to stand in awe of so great a God that we are compelled to sing his praises day and night. This attitude goes hand-in-hand with being messengers of his love to all peoples.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to be a holy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Your gift to me is your Spirit of truth and love. You nourish me with the things of heaven. May I decrease so that you may increase.
Resolution: I will speak well of others today and shun all tendency to judge others or speak badly of them.
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