Scripture Reflection for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
by Brian Singer-Towns
Reading I: Acts 1:1-11
Reading II: Ephesians 4:1-13
GOSPEL: Mark 16:15-20
In his homily one weekend, my pastor said that the true Gospel was far more incredible than the fiction in the book (and movie) the DaVinci Code. For example, in last week’s Gospel Jesus, the Holy One, the Savior of the world, calls us “friends”. In this weekend’s readings — for the Ascension of the Lord — we have something equally awe-inspiring. All three readings imply that we are called to carry on Jesus’ mission to the world. But personally, I find this more than awe-inspiring; I find it to be scary and perhaps even laughable!
Our God Must Be Crazy!
I’m supposed to be Jesus’ witness to the ends of the earth? I’m supposed to practice some gift such as prophecy, evangelization, pastoring, or teaching to build up the body of Christ? I’m supposed to proclaim the Good News to all creation? Sinful, imperfect, doubting me? God, you must be crazy!
Friends in faith, our God is not crazy. Jesus challenges us to follow his example, to follow the example of countless saints, who through the ages bring good news to the world. What an honor, what a privilege! And we are doing it. Members of our parish families are prophetic voices in our communities. We are evangelizing. We are being pastoral. We are teaching. We are reaching out to those in need.
We’re All In This Together
One message that is clear throughout the Gospels is that we are called to be in community with each other. Being a Christian goes hand-in-hand with being in relationship with others. And judging by the challenges of this week’s readings, Jesus knew exactly what he was talking about.
We can’t do what Jesus asks without the support of our parish community. That realization should also remind us to thank our parish staff members for their support and dedication. We should also give thanks to the couples groups for the encouragement they share together. And to the volunteer leaders who provide opportunities for service. And to the Bible study groups for their wisdom and friendship.
We should say thanks to all of the people of our parish — not just the ones who are able to volunteer their time in various capacities. Even our fellow parishioners who simply celebrate with us on Sunday play an important role through their weekly participation in the Eucharist. Their prayers and support help and encourage those parishioners who are currently playing a more active role in proclaiming the Good News. And chances are good that from their ranks will emerge the next wave of prophets, pastors, and preachers.
Together we will be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth! Impossible? Not at all. It’s mission possible!
How do members of your parish help share the Good News to the ends of the earth?
Who are the people in your parish that should be thanked?
What gifts have you been given to carry on the mission of Christ?
Copyright 2006-2015 by Brian Singer-Towns
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