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Going Deeper – Gospel Reflections

Readings for Thursday Mass 5/21/2020

Reading 1 ACTS 18:1-8

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized.

Responsorial Psalm 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R.    (see 2b)  The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 14:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

O Mary,

you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain,
keeping your faith firm.
You, Help of Christians and Mother of Perpetual Help,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge,
Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial,
but deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Amen.

The Spirit of Truth

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Jesus completes His mission on Earth and ascends into Heaven to take His seat on His glorious throne for all eternity.  Or does He?  The answer is yes and no. Yes, He does take His seat on His glorious throne, but no, He does not complete His mission on Earth. The Ascension is both the end and the beginning.  It’s a transition to the next phase in the perfect plan of the Father.  And understanding the way this plan unfolds should leave us in wonder and awe.

Sure, the Apostles were probably somewhat frightened and confused.  Jesus was with them, then He died, then He rose and appeared various times, and then He ascended to the Father before their eyes.  But He also told them that it is good that He goes.  In fact, He said that it’s better that He goes.  They must have been confused.  Jesus also told them His Advocate would come to lead them into all Truth.  So the Apostles went from joy, to fear, to relief and more joy, to confusion and sorrow, to curiosity and uncertainty.

Sound familiar?  Perhaps that’s the way some find their lives to be.  Ups and downs, twists and turns, joys and sorrows.  Each phase reveals something new, something challenging, something glorious or something sorrowful.  The good news is that the Father’s plan is unfolding perfectly.

The part of the perfect plan we find ourselves in with this solemnity is the part where Jesus begins to direct His mission of establishing the Kingdom of God from Heaven.  His throne is, in a sense, the driver’s seat of our lives.  From Heaven, Jesus suddenly begins to descend continuously into our lives fulfilling His mission in and through the Apostles, as well as all of us.  The Ascension does not mean Jesus is gone; rather, it means Jesus is now present to each and every person who turns to Him and surrenders their life to His mission.  From Heaven, Jesus is able to be present to all.  He is able to live in us and invites us to live in Him.  It’s the new beginning of the Church.  Now all the Apostles need to do is wait for the Holy Spirit to descend.

Reflect, today, upon the abiding and intimate presence of our Lord in your life.  Know that Jesus invites you to share in His mission.  From His glorious throne He wants us to “preach everywhere.”  He wants to invite each one of us to do our part.  The part of the Father’s plan entrusted to each one of us is not entrusted to another.  We all have a share in that plan.  What is your part?  How does Jesus direct His mission through you?  Ponder this question today and know that He accompanies you as you say “Yes” to your part in the glorious unfolding of His perfect plan.

Lord, I do find that my life is filled with many ups, downs, twists and turns.  There are joys and sorrows, moments of confusion and clarity.  In all things, help me to continually say “Yes” to Your plan.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Source of content: mycatholic.life

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