A Reflection for The Feast of the Ascension / Seventh Sunday of Easter, 29th May 2022

forest near glacier mountain during day

By Brian Starken C.S.Sp. Ordained in 1974, Fr Brian was appointed to Sierra Leone where he served in a range of roles over many years. A former Provincial of the Spiritans in Ireland, he is the current team leader of the group of Spiritans ministering in Bawnogue and Deansrath parishes in west Dublin.

In today’s Gospel, Luke tells us that when Jesus was carried up to heaven, the disciples returned to Jerusalem, ‘full of joy’. What a marked contrast to the reaction of those same disciples to the events of Good Friday. The sadness, the uncertainty, the fear of then has now disappeared, and they have become men and women with a mission.

Their mission is to be witnesses to their own experience of the Jesus who spoke so many inspiring parables, who brought God’s forgiveness, who healed the sick, who welcomed saints and sinners alike, who reached out to the most marginalised in society, who spoke about His Father’s infinite and unconditional love for all His children. Above all they will be witnesses to the Risen Jesus, knowing that He will be with them always.

Today, we celebrate Jesus’ return to His Father – and we celebrate His continued presence in our own lives. He is present to us when we are strong in faith. He is also present to us when we are simply ‘hesitant’ followers.

We too are His disciples, with a mission to communicate the Good News of the Gospel. In the words of Pope Francis, ‘God has given us the power to create beauty, to make another smile, to be a healing presence in someone’s sorrow, to bring justice to the oppressed, to console those in difficulty, to bring peace and joy to others, to help those in need, to laugh and enjoy life, to do good, to forgive those who hurt us and, most of all, to love’.

During the coming week, we wait patiently for the coming of the Holy Spirit. We wait patiently to be ‘clothed with the power from on high’. We wait with joy in our hearts, and like those first disciples, we too wait in prayer.

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