May 24 2020 Reflection
Sunday 24 May 2020
First Reading: ACTS 1:12-14
I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
PS 27:1, 4, 7-8
Second Reading: 1 PT 4:13-16
Gospel Reading: JN 17:1-11A
Today’s Note: The Ascension of the Lord
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.
“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”
Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)
Amazing. After three years of traveling with Jesus, after seeing him arrested, tried, and crucified, after seeing him risen from the dead, even after forty days of Holy Spirit-inspired instruction—after all this, the apostles are still confused. They ask Jesus if he is now going to kick out the Romans and restore Israel to its former glory. They just didn’t get it yet.
Still, we can ask a similar question today: “Lord, when are you going to come and set everything right again? What about all the wars and poverty and abortions?”
In response, Jesus tells the apostles, and us: Yes, I came to establish the kingdom of God—but I want you to help build it.
It’s only right, on today of all days, to praise Jesus with “a blare of trumpets” (Responsorial Psalm). But in the midst of our celebrating, Jesus’ words still reverberate: “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). “Go, . . . and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
Jesus may have ascended, but the work of his kingdom continues—and he has placed that work in our hands. That’s why he promised us the Holy Spirit. We need the Spirit so that our attempts to preach the gospel, take a stand against sin, and lift up the poor are filled with God’s own grace and love.
It’s not as hard as you might think. Preaching the gospel can be as simple as offering to pray for a struggling friend or sharing with a neighbor about how God helped you during a tough situation. Lifting up the poor can mean a weekly visit to a nursing home or increasing your donations to the poor box. Taking a stand against sin can mean praying for people’s conversion or trying to establish a more peaceful environment in the home.
Yes, Jesus is going to restore his kingdom. And he’s going to use you to do it.
“Come, Holy Spirit, and fill our hearts. Empower us to build a kingdom worthy of the risen Lord!”