Editor’s Note: While most Catholic dioceses in the United States celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord on June 5, some dioceses still observe it on its proper date (June 2), and will observe June 5 as the Seventh Sunday of Easter. To serve all followers of this blog, TCS has prepared an additional stewardship bulletin reflection for those who will observe the Seventh Sunday of Easter on June 5.
For the Ascension of the Lord – June 5, 2011
Just before his Ascension, Jesus charged the apostles with the task of spreading the Gospel to the whole world. At the time they didn’t know exactly what he meant and how they would do it. But at his Ascension Jesus resumed his heavenly glory and began his ministry of intercession for us. He then sent the Holy Spirit to empower, guide, and sanctify the Church.
In carrying out his commission, the apostles found they had received the resources they needed. They spent their time in prayer, their talent to find how to most effectively communicate the good news of Jesus, and their treasure in undertaking the work. We also have our part. We have the responsibility to pray for missionaries and their work, to seek to understand and share our Faith, and to give to support the work of the Church throughout the world. Thus we too participate in the commission Christ left his Church.
For the Seventh Sunday of Easter – June 5, 2011
Jesus left the apostles with a challenging mission at his Ascension: “You will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth.” Nevertheless, they returned to Jerusalem, and along with the Blessed Virgin Mary and other disciples, “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer.”
When they had been given such a responsibility by Jesus, it might have seemed a waste of time to spend the days between the Ascension and Pentecost in prayer. But that “time-out” provided the opportunity for them to prepare for their future ministry by maintaining contact with God and studying how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. Thus they were prepared to act when the Holy Spirit empowered them on Pentecost.
We too need to offer time to God in prayer. Jesus himself spent the last bit of time before his arrest praying for his followers. Prayer is not wasted time; it provides the foundation for all our service. We should also follow the example of the apostles in another respect. They prayed individually but in addition offered their prayer together “with one accord.” Your life of prayer will be enriched when you join with others in a family, or in a prayer group, or in public worship.