Ascension of Our Lord

Ascension Day

FIRST READING: Acts 1:1-11

In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and I taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. 'It is' he had said 'what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.'

Now having met together, they asked him, 'Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth'.

As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, 'Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.'

GOSPEL: Mark 16:15-20
Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.'

And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.

40 days have now passed since the Lord's resurrection at Easter and the Novena of Prayer to the Holy Spirit begins.

The Lord Jesus returns to the Father. His work is accomplished and now His work continues through us in the Church. Where he has gone we hope to follow some day.

Angels appear to spur them and us not to spend all our time staring into the sky. There is work to be done, a mission to be fulfilled.


Recently I had reason to go to a local airport. It is so small that one only has to take a few short steps from departures to arrivals.

The demeanour of departing passengers, the body language, the sense of anticipation, the queuing and the farewells, the weigh-in, the boarding passes and security are all things we see there.

I suppose it is the closest we can come to in a comparison to heaven. At an international airport there is a heightened sense of  anticipation and excitement at both ends.

Departure scenes are often quite moving.  

One feels drawn for an instant but one looks away as one is invading people's privacy as they say goodbye to one another, especially if there are tears shed, and the uncertainty whether the parties will ever set eyes on each other again. There is a direct comparison to departures from our sight. And yet the one gone from our sight is in the company of others. They are being cared for and they are not alone. They have a definite and pre-planned journey and a set destination. We who remain must somehow continue without them until some day we are all re-united. We too have tasks to return to. The ones who have gone are not forgotten.

At arrivals there is an air of expectation, excitement, and gathering for the eagerly awaited passengers who have made a long journey -there is much catching up to do, and hopefully rest and refreshment. They are welcome home.


Jesus has departed but will return to take us with Him - one at a time and at an appointed time not of our choosing.

Our immediate task now this week is that of PRAYER for the grace of the Holy Spirit and a renewal and reminder of the gifts that we have received - a sense of being re-commissioned as we will return to Ordinary Time and ordinary tasks now that the joyful season of Easter is drawing to a close. The next few days are the origin of the first Novena. We can pray each day for each gift to be strenghthened in each one of us for the coming year.

They are: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe, right judgement, knowledge, courage, and reverence.

Come, Holy Spirit!

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