A New Hope

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Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Mark 16:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs. 
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, we rejoice in your Ascension! You are the king of glory and the king of my life. You show me that there is meaning in our suffering. You have gone before us to give us peace and hope in this life. Help me to be a witness of this peace and hope to others.
Encountering Christ:

  1. The Glory of God: Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’s humanity into God’s heavenly domain. Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his body, may live in the hope of one day being with him forever (Catechism of the Catholic Church 665 and 666). For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). Every time we receive the Eucharist, we receive a “taste of heaven,” which by God’s grace can deepen our faith and our holy anticipation of eternity. 
  2. Fidelity to His Will: Pope Francis said that “entering the glory of God demands daily fidelity to his will, even when it demands sacrifice and sometimes requires us to change our plans.” It is known that Jesus’s ascension happened on the Mount of Olives where he had prayed to the Father before the Passion. It was Our Lord’s love of his Father that enabled him to endure suffering and death, and then return to the place of encounter to be raised into heaven. Through our relationship with the Father, we also receive the grace to be faithful to God’s will, and may we one day reap the benefits—eternity with him. With Jesus, we say, “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
  3. Never Alone: Pope Francis adds,“The Ascension does not point to Jesus’s absence, but tells us that he is alive in our midst in a new way. He is now…present in every space and time, close to each one of us. In our life we are never alone: we have this Advocate who awaits us, who defends us.” Before Jesus died on the cross, he promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to be with his people to accompany them. It is through this gentle Spirit that we perceive the presence of God and receive comfort, consolation, and wisdom to prepare us for our eternal destiny.

Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, thank you for always being with me. Without the power of your Spirit in my life, I can do nothing. While I am still here on earth, help me to conform my will to your Father’s will. Help me endure hardships with love for you. Let the thought of heaven with you console my heart deeply. 
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will offer up a prayer for a friend or family member who has been feeling hopeless.
For Further Reflection: Read Section Two, Chapter Two, Article 6, “He Ascended into Heaven and Is Seated at the Right Hand of the Father” of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and imagine yourself as a witness together with the Apostles at Christ’s Ascension.
Beverly Dalton is a writer and lives in the city of Manila. She also works for a Catholic psychology center, helping out with research studies and programs for the poor. When she is not busy, she spends time with her mom and sister, and occasionally finds leisure and relaxation in soapmaking as seen in @twosistershome.ph.

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