The Ascension of The Lord - Cycle B
May 17, 2015
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First Reading:Acts 1:1-11
Psalm: 47:2-3, 6-9
Second Reading:Ephesians 1:17-23 Gospel Reading: Mark 16:15-20
- This Sunday’s Gospel takes up events from the day of the Resurrection after, to the disbelief of the apostles, Jesus has appeared to several people (Mark 16:1-14). In a greatly compressed account of events, it ends 40 days later when Jesus ascends into heaven.
- Both Jews and Greeks of the time would have been familiar with stories of heroes that were taken into heaven (for example, Heracles and, in some extra-biblical accounts, Moses). The major differences between these myths and the fact of Jesus’ Ascension is that Jesus ascended under his own power rather than being “taken up,” and that Jesus takes his place in heaven at the right hand of God the Father, a place of authority equal to the Father’s.
- Through his Ascension, Christ accomplished several things: (1) he went up to heaven body and soul under his own divine power; (2) he took possession of the Kingdom he had won through his death on the Cross; (3) he went to prepare us a place in heaven (John 14:2; Revelation 3:21); (4) he sends the Holy Spirit to his Church at Pentecost.
- The Ascension of Our Lord is the sixth article of the Apostle’s Creed and the second glorious mystery of the most holy Rosary.
- In the 2nd reading verse 20 serves as sort of a “hinge verse” to the rest of the passage. In verses 21-23, what has Jesus accomplished? In verses 17-19, what promises are ours to claim?
- What is the scope of Jesus’ “Great Commission” (verse 15; Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:46-48)? How far is his Kingdom to spread? Who has primary responsibility for spreading the gospel? Given the scope of the task, is it physically possible for them to accomplish this alone?
- In what two ways does Jesus tell the apostles they are to spread the gospel (verses 15-16)? Why are both necessary?
- Examine another account of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven found in this Sunday’s first reading (Acts 1:1-11). How long after the Resurrection did this occur? What will happen ten days later?
- Why was it necessary for Jesus’ disciples to witness his Ascension into heaven? What did his Ascension accomplish as part of God’s plan of salvation for us? In what two special ways does the Church invite us to meditate on this mystery?
- Why do you think miracles of the kind mentioned in verses 17-18 were common in the early Church? Why do they seem less common now? What is the purpose of miracles?
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 659-657, 670, 183, 977, 1257, 1507
“Perhaps someone will say within himself, ‘I have already believed, I shall be saved.’ He speaks true if his faith be supported by good works, for that only is true faith, which does not contradict in works what is believed in words.” ~St. Gregory
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