Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47:2-3,6-9; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20)
The Faithfulness of Jesus in Leading Us and Guiding Us
I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
This is a bittersweet day. On the one hand, we celebrate Jesus, the Son of God, being lifted up into heaven, exalted as Lord above all of creation.
On the other hand, Jesus is no longer with us. Wouldn’t it be better if he could still walk among us, visiting every nation, performing miracles, and continuing to teach us how to live? Imagine the impact he could have had over the past two thousand years!
But the truth is, Jesus has not left us alone. He is still with us; he still guides us. And even better, he is also in heaven, interceding for us before his Father (Hebrews 9:24).
When he walked the earth, Jesus was limited by his human body. A man like us in all things but sin, he could travel only so far. He was limited by hunger, pain, and tiredness. He could do only so much. But now, risen and glorified, Jesus has no limitations. He is free to do so much more! He can comfort a grieving widow in South Africa at the same time that he is giving wisdom to a perplexed young man in Norway. He can pour out grace and healing at every Mass being celebrated at every moment and still be present to every lonely soul searching for him in silence.
Pope Francis once said that Jesus is like a rope guide, who climbs the “mountain of the Lord” before us and then pulls us up with him. If anything along our journey up that mountain causes problems or gets in the way, he comes to our rescue. He always forgives us, consoles us, and blesses us. He is our advocate and our defender against the evil one.
Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus is always with us—in good times and bad—until the end of the world?
“Jesus, I am so grateful for the way you love me and care for me!”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
- The first reading describes the ascension of the Lord. After Jesus ascends, we hear these words from what are obviously angels: “This Jesus who has been taken up into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” How important to you is Jesus’ second coming? How important should it be? Why?
- The Responsorial Psalm provides a foreshadowing of the joy and celebration that may have occurred in heaven upon Jesus’ return. Spend a minute or so in quiet reflection and try to imagine what your first day(s) in heaven would be like. What do you think they will be like?
- In the second reading, St. Paul prays a powerful prayer for the believers in Ephesus, and for us. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father is also part of this prayer. Pray this prayer slowly and meditate on the words as you do. What does this prayer mean to you? Would you consider praying this prayer for family members and others? What do you think the fruits of doing this would be?
- The Gospel reading ends with the words that are the very last words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Why should these words fill us with joy? What steps can you take to be more open to Jesus’ presence during the day?
- The meditation ends with these words: “Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus is always with us—in good times and bad—until the end of the world?” Do you believe this? If so, what difference does this truth make in your life? What are the obstacles that hold you back from believing this? How can you overcome them?
- Take some time now to pray and thank the Lord for his faithfulness in always being with you, loving you, and caring for you. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.