16May May 16 2021 The Ascension of the Lord – World Communications Day

May 16 2021
The Ascension of the Lord

World Communications Day

1st Reading: Acts 1:1-11

Ascension concludes Jesus’ ministry on earth and prepares for the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Responsorial: from Psalm 47

R./: God goes up with shouts of joy, the Lord goes up with trumpet blast

All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the Lord, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth. (R./)

God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the Lord, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise. (R./)

For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne. (R./)

2nd Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23

God has raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him above every created being. It is a privilege to belong to his body, the church

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Gospel:  Mark 16:15-20

The final instructions of Jesus, according to Mark

Jesus said to his disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.


Last Will and Testament

In the gospel we have just heard Our Lord’s final instructions, his Last Will and Testament. Just before leaving them, he reminds them of what he expects of them. Earlier he had sent them out to spread the Kingdom of God. Those who go in his name, do so with his authority. The authority goes with the mission, so to speak.  Mark says that the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it”. And Luke emphasises that they will be “clothed with power from on high”, that is, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is very definite about what he has to say. Like any gathering of people, the feelings of his disciples were varied. But he sends them out to speak and act in his name.

Their mission was both easy and hard: easy to understand but hard to carry out. It was to teach others all that he had taught them. Just as he asked them to follow his way, they were to ask that others should follow that way too.

Has a doctor ever put you on a course of antibiotics. The most basic guidance about antibiotics is to complete the course. Even if the patient starts to feel well after a few days, to discontinue taking the medicine can let their condition grow worse.

Similarly, the message of salvation must continue to be shared until the end of time. With all the changes in the church and in society, neither Jesus nor his message have changed. His Gospel remains a call to live our lives to the full.

You write a new page of the gospel each day,
through all that you do and whatever you say.
Others read what you write, be it faithful or true.
So what is the gospel according to you?

He is with us always. This can be a real help against loneliness. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. One can feel lonely in a crowded street; or alternatively, like Cicero, never less alone than when alone ( “minus solum, quam cum solus”). This applies especially to those who believe the promise, “l am with you always.” Talking with him doesn’t even need words. If we are open to His presence in our heart, and treasure it, we can experience fully that “Joy of the Gospel” so warmly described for us by our good Pope Francis.

One Response

  1. Thara Benedicta

    Key Message:

    Jesus is getting the mansions ready for us in Heaven. Let us get ready for the big day!!

    Homily:

    Takeaway from First Reading:

    Our Lord Jesus said to the apostles that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them; and asked them to wait for the Holy Spirit before starting their work. Why did He ask them to wait for the Holy Spirit and not start before receiving the Holy Spirit? Jesus knew that the apostles would be able to do mighty works only when they receive the Holy Spirit.

    The same principle works till today – We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit for us to fulfil the purpose in our life.
    We may not receive the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire like the apostles. But we can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit through the small still voice speaking from inside our heart. We need to wait for God in prayer, before taking any decision or providing any suggestion to others.
    The Holy Spirit is our best counsellor.

    Takeaway from Second Reading:

    God has placed the name of Jesus above every name – above the name of any ruler or education or richest person or the most powerful human being on earth. We may feel that we are weak or economically backward or not an influential person in the worldly realms. But when we take the name of Jesus and go-ahead with our battles, then we are more powerful than anyone else.

    God has put everything in the world under the feet of Jesus. So no curse or enemy attacks can stand against us, when we call Jesus for our battles. Jesus will fight in a manner, more than what we can comprehend and do.
    God has made our Lord Jesus sit at His right hand. It is written that “In God’s right hand, there are unlimited pleasures” Psalm 16:11
    Our dear Lord Jesus is the right source for all our pleasures!!
    Let us call our Jesus both to ‘fight our battles’ and ‘provide our pleasures’.

    Takeaway from Gospel Reading:

    The ascension of Lord Jesus, proves to us the existence of Heaven. Many great philosophers of the world have commented on their death beds, that they do not know where they are going. But we know where we are going!!

    Can we analyse the ‘knowings’ that we have as a Christian:

    What will happen to us once we die?

    It is a great luxury to be fully aware what will happen when we die. We have a life that will never end and we are choosing the destinations – Heaven/hell/purgatory (for a temporary period of time).

    Who are our family members in heaven?

    We will be born in God’s family. Mother Mary, elder brother Jesus, St. Joseph, our favourite saints, family, friends and so on…

    What will be mode of transport to reach heaven?
    1. Our Lord Jesus Christ was taken up in clouds
    2. A ladder from earth to heaven (vision of Jacob)
    3. Angels carrying the soul to heaven (from parable of the rich man and Lazarus)
    4. Welcomed by Lord Jesus (when Stephen was stoned to death)
    5. Welcomed by company of loved ones (Moses and Elijah came to discuss with Jesus)
    God shows He arranges our entry to Heaven in numerous ways, since the death of His faithful children is precious in His eyes.

    Where do we stay in Heaven?
    Whether we own a house in earth or not, we will surely be owning a mansion in Heaven. Jesus is getting a place ready for us in Heaven, as it was one of His planned agenda when He reaches Heaven (John 14:2).

    General work agenda in Heaven:
    The Bible says, “In your presence is the fullness of joy; In your right hand is pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11)”.
    We will be joyful always. We will enjoy the unlimited pleasures from the right hand of God. We will be singing and praising God (Revelation). God is enthroned in the praises of His people, Psalms22:3.
    We read in the Bible that there are judgement councils. So few souls will be working on them too. We need to get to heaven to understand more…

    Differentiation between those who serve and do not serve God:
    According to the Bible (Malachi 3:18), there will be a differentiation between those who serve God and those who don’t.
    When we serve God on earth, we will shine like the sun and the stars forever (Mathew 13:43, Daniel 12:3). God the Father Himself will honour the one who serves Jesus (John 12:26).
    Isaiah 40:10 says “… His reward is with Him, and His work with Him”

    Reward for good works:
    How nicely God has planned for the reward ceremony!! We will receive rewards from God for the all the good works. All our tears stored in the bottle and all our treasures stored up in Heaven will be remembered and rewarded accordingly.

    Tips to get prepared for the ascension to Heaven:

    1. There is a spiritual hunger for God that resides in each one of us. Mostly we shy away from satisfying our hunger, thinking it is always for someone who is in saintly cadre and not regular people like me. Or we try to ignore our hunger/wanting for God, assuming it will be boring to spend time with God. But God is very interesting. In His right hand are pleasures for ever more. In heaven we will have more pleasures than we have on earth. So appreciate the spiritual longing in your heart and spend time with God. Have we read in the Bible that the Apostles were either stressed or bored when Jesus was with them? Or have we read Heaven is boring? We will get more excitement when are involved in prayer than watching a movie.

    2. Corona virus has created unimaginable opportunities for us to serve God by serving His people. There is a lot of unemployment in most of the places. If we still have a job, then we can spend on people by giving them job opportunities. If we have little kids, then we can employ unemployed people to teach our kids, any useful skill. Spend as much as you can. God will repay you.

    3. Jesus says, ‘Many are called; but few are chosen’. All of us have the calling. But to be chosen, we need to take up the responsibility that has been assigned to us. We cannot be lethargic in our call. Our call can be to be a home maker, or a school teacher or a business person. Are we doing our work devotedly and accomplishing God’s will?

    4. We cannot wait to do good things, till we feel like doing it. If we think too much, then the allocated time to do that particular good deed can pass away. As soon as God shows you a person in need, which you can fulfil, then instead of meditating whether it is wise to do something or praying that God will send someone to help the person in need, please do it immediately. When we are a blessing for others, God will pour out His blessings on us.

    5. God has bestowed on all of us the grace to do what He wants us to do. We may be in a difficult place right now, but God has bestowed on us the special grace to take care of that difficult situation. There is more credit when we do good deeds during our suffering, than during our joyful times.

    6. Jesus says, “Enter Heaven through the narrow gate”. ‘Wide gate’ is doing whatever we want to do. We can carry all our unwanted desires, laziness, and manipulative minds, etc. in our baggage. ‘Narrow gate’ is living a focussed life on doing the right thing just for God. It is understanding others needs and helping them voluntarily rather than expecting what others will do for me. It does not have place for pride, self-pity, unforgiveness, gossiping or self-centric life.

    7. Once we have repented for our sins, let us not continue worrying about them. (1 John 1:7 – “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin”). The Blood of Lord Jesus Christ purifies us from all our sins. Hence, we restart our journey towards Heaven, once we repent.

    8. We need to take care of others, the way we would like to be taken care of. We can appreciate others, in front of people. We will avoid gossiping how much ever we are tempted to do so. We will treat others correctly, even if they do not even understand it and continue mistreating us. God will shower us with bigger blessings through someone else.

    9. If we always focus on what we want, rather than what God wants us to do, then we will reap regrets at the later stages of our life. It is very miserable if at the end of our life we are not happy with the way we have lived.

    Let us not have regrets later. We can choose to live a fruitful life.


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