Monday, May 22, 2017

The Ascension : May 28, 2017



The Seventh Sunday of Easter  - Year A

Image result for the ascension of our lord
Reading I:  ACTS 1:12-14



Psalm:  27


Reading II:  
1 PT 4:13-16


Gospel:  JN 17:1-11a


I chose this illustration of the Ascension of Our Lord because it shows the disciples reacting to Jesus’ leaving them. Jesus had told them that it is better for Him to go so that He can send His Spirit to them to be with them in a new way. Nevertheless, it is obvious that this is difficult for them.

People find it very difficult to say “Goodbye” during this lifetime, even though they know it is necessary. I don't know where I heard this expression that Heaven means you never have to say “Goodbye” again, but it expresses our deep desire.

Whether it is a young mother bringing her child to school for the first time, a parent seeing a son or daughter going away from home to college or an apartment, the separation can be painful even though it is important, so that normal growth can take place. Leaving one life stage to move to the next necessitates letting go.

Losing someone through death can totally devastate a person,
even if one has the faith to believe that they are going to a better place. The grieving process can be long and difficult.

Letting go is a challenge for us, but it is a work of love. Parents let go so their children can develop into happy adulthood. Families let go of loved ones so that they are relieved of pain and can enter into everlasting happiness. Jesus let go of heaven to come to be with us and redeem us.  

The apostles are now being asked to let go of Jesus’ tangible
presence. They are feeling their own weakness and vulnerability. What do they do? They gather together in prayer in the upper room with Mary, the mother of  Jesus, whom Jesus had given them as their own mother as he was dying on the cross.

Jesus not only promised that the disciples would be receiving the Holy Spirit, but He provided the loving comfort of His own mother to help them as they waited. How compassionate is the Lord we serve!


Mary is our mother also. Let us turn to her for assistance and comfort when we too feel weak and vulnerable. This brings to mind the beautiful traditional prayer: 


The Memorare
         
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that any one who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help
or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
We fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother;
to thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. Amen.



Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

La Ascensión

Elegí esta ilustración de la Ascensión de Nuestro Señor porque muestra a los discípulos reaccionar ante la salida de Jesús. Jesús les había dicho que era mejor para Él ir para que Él pudiera enviar Su Espíritu a ellos para estar con ellos de una manera nueva. Sin embargo, es obvio que esto es difícil para ellos.

A la gente le resulta muy difícil decir “Adiós” durante esta vida, aunque saben que es necesario. No sé dónde oí esta expresión de que el Cielo significa que nunca tendrás que decir “Adiós” de nuevo, sino que expresa nuestro profundo deseo.

Ya sea una madre joven que trae a su hijo a la escuela por primera vez, un padre que ve a un hijo o hija que se va de casa a la universidad o un apartamento, la separación puede ser dolorosa, aunque es importante, para que el crecimiento normal puede tomar lugar. Dejar una etapa de vida para pasar a la siguiente requiere dejar ir.

Perder a alguien a través de la muerte puede devastar totalmente a una persona, Incluso si uno tiene la fe para creer que van a un lugar mejor. El proceso de duelo puede ser largo y difícil.

Dejar ir es un desafío para nosotros, pero es una obra de amor. Los padres se sueltan para que sus hijos puedan desarrollarse en la adultez feliz. Las familias sueltan a sus seres queridos para que se sientan aliviados del dolor y puedan entrar en la felicidad eterna. Jesús dejó ir el cielo para venir a estar con nosotros y redimirnos.

A los apóstoles se les pide ahora que dejen de lado la

presencia. Están sintiendo su propia debilidad y vulnerabilidad. ¿Qué hacen? Ellos se reúnen en oración en el aposento alto con María, la madre de Jesús, a quien Jesús les había dado como su propia madre mientras se moría en la cruz.
Jesús no sólo prometió que los discípulos estarían recibiendo el Espíritu Santo, sino que proveyó el consuelo amoroso de su propia madre para ayudarlos mientras esperaban. ¡Cuán compasivo es el Señor que servimos!

María es nuestra madre también. Volvamos a ella para recibir ayuda y consuelo cuando también nos sentimos débiles y vulnerables. Esto trae a la mente la hermosa oración tradicional:


El recuerdo
         
Recuerda, oh muy amable Virgen María,
Que nunca se sabía
Que cualquiera que huyó a tu protección,
Imploró tu ayuda
O buscado tu intercesión,
Fue dejado sin ayuda.
Inspirado por esta confianza,
Volamos a ti, Virgen de vírgenes, Madre mía;
A ti venimos, delante de ti nos paramos, pecadores y tristes;
Oh Madre de la Palabra Encarnada,

No menospreciéis nuestras peticiones, sino que en tu misericordia escuchen y respondan.
Amén.












3 comments:

  1. Sr. Therese MW. SBSMay 23, 2017 at 2:10 PM

    What an attractive and meaningful illustration! It certainly was an excellent choice. Also, the related explanations are appreciated.

    The liturgy for the current Sunday focuses chiefly on the Ascension of Jesus. The following excerpts are from a homily by Father Albert Lakra:

    "The Ascension of our Lord is the hope of our glorification and a guarantee to meet our Lord in heaven. It is a reminder of our salvation, a reminder that our true home is in heaven. So today we are challenged to look beyond this world to the destiny which we are to share with Christ in heaven. Thus, this world can only be a place of temporary refuge, a world of passage and not a world of permanence. But, myopic as we are, unfortunately, we are sometimes caught by the assumption that this is the only life there is."

    "This feast of the Ascension is also a reminder for all of us, not just of what awaits us when we die, but also what we need to do while we are still on earth, alive. Jesus, before his ascension commissioned his disciples and us, too, to be his witnesses and carry out his mission to the ends of the earth 'till his return. A big task indeed! But before we can proclaim Jesus to others our first task is to make sure that we make Jesus the Lord of our own hearts. This we can do by prayerfully reflecting on his words and by living according to his teachings and commandments. We have to make time to become more and more like Christ in everything. Then we can proclaim the Good News to others, not only through our words and deeds, but also through our lives so that Jesus will also reign in their hearts and one day we will all be with him in heaven. And this is the Good News of today."

    Father Albert Laka
    .......

    Prayer to Christ Ascended into Heaven

    "O Lord Jesus, I adore you, Son of Mary, my Savior and my brother, for you are God. I follow you in my thoughts, a first fruit of our race, as I hope one day by your grace to follow you in my person into heavenly glory. Until then, do not let me neglect the earthly
    tasks which you have given me. Let me labor diligently all my life with greater application for the present. Let me realize that only by accomplishing true human fulfillment can I attain Divine fulfillment and ascend to you at the completion of my work. Amen."

    Catholic Online Prayers












    good News of today!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Sr. Therese, Thank you for sharing the Prayer to Christ Ascended into Heaven. It speaks to me in a most comforting way today as confirmation that doing the earthly tasks that are ours to do glorify God and aid us in attaining divine fulfillment.

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  2. Sr. Annette, your reflection on “letting go” reminded me of the bitter-sweet passing of several of my beloved family members at whose deaths I was privileged to be present. The grief in my heart at no longer being able to see and touch them and hear their voices was balanced with a deep peace knowing they were “Home” and free of the pain and limitations they experienced this side of heaven. With the exception of my Aunt Bette, my loved ones did not struggle to cling to life; they were ready to move on–no regrets, no fears. Aunt Bette, however, needed permission to die. Aunt Bette took care of us as children and was an integral part of our adult lives. I believe that her reluctance to leave us was that she worried who would take her place. We told her that we would be ok with her leaving knowing that she will be looking after us from above. Her spirit would live in our hearts forever. This assurance seemed to quiet her and she died shortly thereafter. This simple woman is remembered to this day as one who nurtured, warmed, and loved not only us but our friends, spouses and our children. Remembering Aunt Bette, and the other special people in my life who have died, I’m able to comprehend the depth of love that Jesus held for his disciples during the 40 days of preparation leading to His Resurrection. Jesus was not leaving them behind as orphans but promised to send them His Spirit.
    In today’s gospel, Jesus prays, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” Jesus had no unfinished business remaining and was ready to return in glory to the Father. Jesus’ words bring me face to face with a major fear of mine, namely, that I won’t accomplish the purpose for which I was created. What if I am missing God’s call for my life? How can I know what it is He wants me to do? Is it enough to be a good person and do the tasks associated with my roles in life – mother, daughter, sister, co-worker – in a joyful spirit with an attitude of serving? I’ve yet to recognize any unique talents and abilities that give glory to God. Life has been busy and I tend to live in response to the multiple needs of those entrusted to my care though I yearn to attain a more balanced way of doing life. In the silence, I question if there is a higher, more graceful way of being. What do I need to leave behind in order to discover my God essence? Can I walk away from some of the chaos in order to connect with God’s spirit within me so I can begin to contemplate His purposes for my life?
    In the midst of writing this post I received a call from my mother - she had fallen and could not get up. I drove to her home and found her on the floor bruised and in excruciating pain; she could not move her left arm. Unable to get her up, I called for an ambulance. We spent the entire day in the emergency room; x-rays revealed that she fractured her arm. Like so many caregivers I am now juggling work and family life. This incident has led me to believe that we are indeed serving God when we perform the tasks required of us in our ordinary daily lives. It brings to mind a quote of St. Katharine Drexel, “God’s will – peacefully do at each moment what at that moment ought to be done.” I am finding great comfort in her words.
    As we walk through the seasons of life the nature of our service changes. I am hoping that my retirement years will free me of some of the responsibilities I currently have and new opportunities will open. Perhaps I’ll stumble upon a talent or gift that is yet undiscovered and I’ll enjoy developing it and sharing it with others through volunteering. I also anticipate that the additional free time will afford more quality time in prayer with the Lord. For now, I consider myself a work in progress... Please keep me and my mother in your prayers as the months ahead may be challenging and it is my ardent desire to avoid overwhelm by remembering the abiding Presence of God’s Spirit within each of us. Pat C, ASBS

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