First reading: Acts 1:1-11
Second reading: Eph 1:17-23
Gospel: Lk 24:46-53
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
A really good storyteller will never tell a story quite the same way twice. Luke is a great storyteller: Today we hear his two versions of the Ascension of Jesus, one from Luke’s Gospel, the other from his Acts of the Apostles. As you might expect, the two accounts have some differences.
For example, the Gospel’s story of the Ascension takes place on Easter night, while in Acts it is situated 40 days later. This and other differences remind us that these accounts are not strict history, but rather written to teach a spiritual point.
Luke locates both accounts in Jerusalem, where Jesus has won victory in his death and resurrection. From there, the Church will spread to the whole world. The Gospel version evokes the past: We hear Jesus explain how it was prophesied that he would suffer. In Acts, his words point to the future, to the commissioning of his apostles as witnesses through the power of the Holy Spirit they will soon receive.
We’re fortunate to have both versions of this special moment in the life of the Church. We need to remember how the story of Jesus fulfills God’s plan and promises of old. We must also be challenged to witness to Christ, empowered by his Holy Spirit.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In this week's first reading, Jesus said to the disciples that they would be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. What did that mean they should do?
Paul’s prayer for the people of Ephesus starts the second reading. What does he ask for them?
According to the Gospel, what was the final thing that Jesus did after he led the disciples out as far as Bethany?
ACT | By Susan Hines-Brigger
In the Gospel, Jesus says that he is praying for the apostles, as well as those who hear his name. In that spirit, have your family make a list of people for whom they would like to pray or who have asked for prayers. Take some time each day to remember those people in your thoughts and prayers.