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Scripture reflections: 'God goes up with shouts of joy'

 |  22 May 2017

Lectionary readings

First reading: Acts 1:1-11

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 47

Second reading: Ephesians 1:17-23

Matthew 28:16-20

Link to readings.


Eastertide is drawing to a close. Today we reflect on the mystery of Christ’s Ascension. He is going back to his Father and entrusts his disciples with the task of continuing his work here on earth. During the course of the day, I think about the moments I am going to spend with the Lord today. What I am going to tell him? What he is going to say to me?

When the time comes, I settle down and ask the Holy Spirit to shut out all distractions; I turn to the Lord as I would a trusted friend. I reflect on the significance of this special day. Has its meaning changed for me over the years?

In conquering death, the Risen Christ transformed the world for ever into a new creation. Am I prepared and willing to follow him?

As I speak to the Lord in my prayer, I ask him to be with me and increase my desire to continue his work. In hope and trust, I listen to what he has to say to me.

Second reading

Ephesians 1:17-23

Paul realises that the Risen Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit is working in and through him, and in the Church through each of us.

Quietly and slowly I let God’s Spirit pray this prayer in me this week—phrase by phrase...

This is my personal prayer to Jesus who knows me, who understands me, who loves me with an enormous love. Perhaps I may find myself reflecting and talking to Jesus about the following: Where do I need a spirit of wisdom?

Where and when do I need the Lord to enlighten me; to help me see what to do, or what to say...

Where and when do I need to trust in his great power at work in my life?

How can it help me strengthen the community in which I live? My prayer could end with thanking the Lord for being with me and with a slow sign of the Cross.


Matthew 28:16-20

At the Ascension did Jesus abandon us, or is he with us always? He is no longer present with us in the same way as we meet people today. But he is very present to those who believe in him and love him.

I may find it helpful to read the text several times.

Although the story is familiar to me, there is often something new to be revealed. Far from an ending, it is a moment of empowering. First, I try to enter into the scene. I place myself there with Jesus and the disciples.Do I bow down in worship…or do I hesitate..? What do I see? What do I hear? How do I feel as He departs?

Perhaps I recall partings in my life? Loss of loved ones, coping with illness, being far from home.The times I can feel alone, with no one to listen or talk to; times without hope.

Do I hang on to Jesus’ parting words:‘I am with you always’? With quiet confidence, I pray to be given God’s Spirit of hope – hope in Christ and in his promises…

I hear him say:‘Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations…’ Can I pray to realise that the invitation he speaks of is an invitation to me? To me in my weakness to spread the word; to continue his work; to be his witness; to bring hope to people – perhaps starting with my family, with those with whom I work, in my parish, etc.Thanks to the preaching of the Apostles I am here praying. To whom is the Lord asking me to go?

Reflections from from the Jesuits in Britain.  

View next week's reflections.



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