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Scripture Reflection - May 12, 2024

Solemnity of the Ascension

Acts 1:1-11 - Ephesians 1:17-23 - Mark 16:15-20

Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York Scripture Reflection

“So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,

was taken up into heaven

and took his seat at the right hand of God.

But they went forth and preached everywhere,

while the Lord worked with them

and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”

- Mark 16:19-20

On this Feast of the Ascension, we hear the words of Jesus, commissioning the disciples to go into the whole world. The disciples had heard Jesus teach and preach. They witnessed him heal and followed in his work. They saw his compassion and mercy for the marginalized, especially women, children, foreigners, and outcasts. They lived through the terror of his trial, crucifixion and death. They encountered him post-resurrection. Now, they are being called to be the Body of Christ in the world.

I can imagine it is with mixed feelings that the disciples are sent forth as they also witness Jesus ascend to heaven. By this point, nothing should surprise the disciples, yet somehow, I would guess that Jesus floating up into the sky and not returning may have still been a shocking sight and one filled with loss and grief.

Last year, I watched the movie Love, Again, a Rom-Com featuring award winning singer Celine Dion as a sort of fairy godmother character. The basic premise was that a woman, Mira, after losing her fiance in a tragic accident, starts texting his number as a way to process grief. Rob, a journalist focusing on the music industry, has a new phone with the deceased fiance’s former number. Rob interviews Celine Dion as he tracks down and uncovers who is texting him. She helps him to mature and become ready for a relationship. Dion’s music is sprinkled throughout the soundtrack, with the song “I’ll Be” as the point of transition when Mira is being pushed by her sister to start dating again. The refrain, which seems to echo the message Jesus provides before his ascension, provides the promise and words of strength for our journey:

Wherever you go, oh, I’ll be.

When you need me close, oh, I’ll be.

No, you won’t be alone through the highs and the lows

You know you got me.

Wherever you go, oh, I’ll be.

The disciples had to trust that Jesus would be there to support them, even if not physically, as they built up a fledgling Church. Today, we continue to be sent on mission with the same commission from Jesus. We are called to proclaim the Gospel, the good news, and to invite people into faith through baptism. We are called to be preachers, teachers, prophets, ministers, and to build up the Body of Christ. We are called to do this with the knowledge that although Jesus isn’t with us in physical bodily form, he is very much with us and promises to be with us until the end of days.

How do you experience Jesus and the call to carry on his mission today?

Sr. Jenn Schaaf, OP


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