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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (B)
1st Reading (Acts 1:1-11): In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for «the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit». When they had gathered together they asked him, «Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?». He answered them, «It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth».

When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, «Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven».
Responsorial Psalm: 46
R/. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, For the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.

God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise.

For king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise. God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne.
2nd Reading (Eph 1:17-23): Brothers and sisters: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 28:19.20): Alleluia. Go and teach all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 16,15-20): Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

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.

«The Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God»

Fr. Lluc TORCAL Monk of Santa Maria de Poblet (Santa Maria de Poblet, Tarragona, Spain)

Today, in this solemnity, what is being offered to us, as we have never ever been able to imagine before, is a Word of Salvation. Our Lord Jesus has not only resurrected, defeating death and sin, but He has also been taken up into the glory of God! This is why, the path of return to the Father, that path we had lost and that opens up to us in the mystery of Christmas, has been today irrevocably offered to us, after Christ, on the Cross, offered himself totally to the Father.

Offered? Yes, offered. Because the Lord Jesus Christ, before being taken up into Heaven, has sent his beloved disciples, the Apostles, forth to invite all men to believe in Him, so that they can reach where He is. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:15-16).

The salvation we are finally given consists in living God's life, as St. John mentions in his Gospel: “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (Jn 17:3).

But, whatever is given with love must be accepted in love to be received as a gift. Therefore, Jesus Christ, whom we have never seen, wants us to offer him our love through our faith, which we receive by listening to his ministers, whom we can indeed see and listen to. “We believe in Him, whom we have not seen. Those who have seen Him have announced Him (...). He who has promised is faithful and never fails: boost your confidence and await his promise (...) keep your faith strong!” (St. Augustine). If faith is an offer of love for Jesus Christ, to keep it and make it grow, will also increase our charity within us.

Let us, therefore, offer our faith to the Lord!