Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47:2-3,6-9; Ephesians 1:17-23; Mark 16:15-20)
Saying Yes to Jesus’ Call to Proclaim the Gospel to Others
Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel. (Mark 16:15)
What a simple, but immense, charge Jesus gave to his disciples! He even told them that those who accepted their message would be saved, while those who didn’t would be condemned.
Imagine their reaction: Really, Lord? We’re just fishermen. You can’t expect us to go out and save the whole human race! But Jesus made this a win-win situation. He did send his apostles out to preach and convert the world, but he didn’t send them alone. He made it so that people would be baptized not on the basis of the disciples’ preaching skills but in response to his own grace at work in their hearts. As the twelve became more open to the Spirit, grace would flow more powerfully. Yes, they had to become good at preaching, but they knew that God was even better.
Likewise, the more open we are to God, the more his grace will flow through us. This is part of the wonder of the Christian life: God takes every “yes” that any of his followers says and fills it with his own divine “Yes!” Every time we sit in his presence in prayer, he fills us with even more of his presence to take into the world. It does take effort on our part, but that human effort is so small when compared to the divine strength that accompanies it. Just as Mary’s “yes” to the angel Gabriel set in motion the biggest change in human history, our “yes” to the Lord will cause a chain reaction far beyond our expectations.
On this Feast of the Ascension, let’s rejoice with the saints who have come before us, and let’s commit ourselves to preaching to the saints who will come after us. None of the apostles could have guessed how far their “yes” to Jesus would take them—or how much fruit they would bear for the kingdom. And neither can we. There is much work left to be done, but our God is with us, and his promises are true.
“Yes, Jesus! Thank you for calling me into your service!”
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- 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. The ascension of Jesus is also a day of great rejoicing and hope for us as we look forward to our own ascension into heaven. Why is this so?
- 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 part of this prayer. Pray this prayer slowly and meditate on the words as you do. What does this prayer mean to you?
- The Gospel reading ends with these words concerning Jesus’ disciples: “they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20). How would you describe the importance of the “signs” that accompanied the disciples’ preaching? What about you? Do you believe the Lord wants to accompany your sharing of the Gospel with some types of signs? What are some examples of these signs?
- In the meditation, we hear these words: “Likewise, the more open we are to God, the more his grace will flow through us. This is part of the wonder of the Christian life: God takes every ‘yes’ that any of his followers says and fills it with his own divine ‘Yes!’ Every time we sit in his presence in prayer, he fills us with even more of his presence to take into the world. It does take effort on our part, but that human effort is so small when compared to the divine strength that accompanies it. How would you describe the “human effort” that the Lord wants you to take to say “yes” to his call to “proclaim the Gospel” (Mark 16:15)?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace to say yes to the Lord’s call to proclaim the Gospel. Also ask the Lord to reveal to you those who most need to hear it. Use the prayer at the end of the mediation as the starting point.