Ascension 6th Sunday Year C

Mass Readings:

Reading 1 – Acts 1:1-11
Psalm – Psalm 47:2-9
Reading 2 – Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel – Luke 24:46-53



Ascension of the Lord by Bishop Barron

  • Most Christians misunderstand and turn away from this feast. Far too often we think of it as a time when Jesus left us. But we are missing the point.
  • Acts Volume 2 for Luke – Apostles = sent –> we are sent too to continue Christ’s work.
  • So we are NOT talking about Jesus leaving and coming back to us some day…
  • Through the ministry of the apostles of Jesus, through their acts, but also through our acts, to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
  • “Don’t leave Jerusalem until they receive the promise of the Father” = the Holy Spirit.” “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” –> So many references to the Holy Spirit in Acts = this is how Jesus acts now on the earth to effect His Kingdom. 
  • Jesus tells them that the promised Kingdom is coming, it has already begun with the Resurrection and sending out of these 1st apostles… don’t focus on when, but that the power of the Spirit has come upon you to be Christ’s witnesses. –> this is what we should all be worried about = we have been given power in the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to Jesus. Find your role in the theodrama!
  • Don’t think Jesus went away, think rather that Jesus assumed His place in heaven so that he might direct his operations of the Holy Spirit so that His apostles might make disciples of all nations on earth.
  • Took his seat at the right hand of the father – symbol for kingly power.

Other Commentaries

Scott Hahn

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke gives the surprising news that there is more of the story to be told. The story did not end with the empty tomb, or with Jesus’ appearances to the Apostles over the course of forty days. Jesus’ saving work will have a liturgical consummation. He is the great high priest, and he has still to ascend to the heavenly Jerusalem, there to celebrate the feast in the true Holy of Holies.

The truth of this feast shines forth from the Letter to the Hebrews, where we read of the great high priest’s passing through the heavens, the sinless intercessor’s sacrifice on our behalf (see Hebrews 4:14-15).

Indeed, his intercession will lead to the Holy Spirit’s descent in fire upon the Church. Luke spells out that promise in the first reading for the feast of the Ascension: “in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). Ascension is the preliminary feast that directs the Church’s attention forward to Pentecost. On that day, salvation will be complete; for salvation is not simply expiation for sins (that would be wonder enough), but it is something even greater than that. Expiation is itself a necessary precondition of our adoption as God’s children. To live that divine life we must receive the Holy Spirit. To receive the Holy Spirit we must be purified through baptism.The Responsorial Psalm presents the Ascension in terms familiar from the worship of the Jerusalem Temple in the days of King Solomon: “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord” (Psalm 47). The priest-king takes his place at the head of the people, ruling over the nations, establishing peace.

The Epistle strikes a distinctively Paschal note. In the early Church, as today, Easter was the normal time for the baptism of adult converts. The sacrament was often called “illumination” or “enlightenment” (see, for example, Hebrews 10:32) because of the light that came with God’s saving grace. Saint Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, speaks in terms of glory that leads to greater glories still, as Ascension leads to Pentecost: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,” he writes, as he looks to the divinization of the believers. Their “hope” is “his inheritance among the holy ones,” the saints who have been adopted into God’s family and now rule with him at the Father’s right hand.

This is the “good news” the Apostles are commissioned to spread — to the whole world, to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem — at the first Ascension. It’s the good news we must spread today.

Some thoughts

Jesus has won the game, defeated the enemy, but allows us to continue in the game, He has become the coach on the sidelines. Still intimately involved. Gives us supernatural food (Eucharist) to sustain us throughout the game and infuse us with His power to defeat the enemy. Although we might feel like we are losing the game, He told me during the intermission that we shall receive power from the Holy Spirit, the secret weapon that we needed to continue the game and win the battle. Jesus Christ entered into heaven in his human nature… it’s like he gave us access to the Father’s house for our post-game victory banquet and this access card no one can take from us, only we can throw it away (Left to its own natural powers humanity does not have access to the “Father’s house,” to God’s life and happiness CCC 661).

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