Today we hear Luke's two versions of the Ascension of Jesus, one from his Gospel, the other from his Acts of the Apostles. As you might expect, the two accounts have some differences. These differences remind us that these accounts are not strict history, but rather written to teach a spiritual point.
Jesus assured his followers that he will send “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,” who will teach them and remind them of all Jesus told them. In effect, Jesus is promising that the Church can always rely on the Spirit to guide it in troubled times. The Spirit will help us discover the peace that Jesus gives.
The New Testament Book of Revelation is puzzling with its strange descriptions and symbolism. Many readers misunderstand its purpose and try to find involved, often convoluted references to specific events in our own time or the future. But much of Revelation refers to the time in which it was written.
Today when we hear the exciting adventures of Paul and Barnabas in the reading from the "Acts of the Apostles" we may wonder: How can we answer the call from Jesus to “go out and preach to all nations”? One way is to support missionaries we may know personally by our prayers and financial help.
Christians down through the ages have come to recognize the risen Christ in their midst as the Scriptures are proclaimed and the Eucharistic meal is shared. What we are celebrating in this Easter Season--the Paschal sacrifice of Christ, his dying and rising—is present to us in each Mass.
Today's Easter story is specifically directed at us--those who would come to believe in Jesus down through the ages. We are part of a community of faith--a living legacy passed on from generation to generation, and often given at great cost, with personal sacrifice.
In his essay, J.R.R. Tolkien pays tribute to the power of the Christian proclamation. He notes that there is no other story which so many skeptics “have accepted as true on its own merits.” Our Easter Gospel is a story of living faith in which we are participants, and to which we are now witnesses.
Luke remains consistent to the characteristics he’s highlighted all through his Gospel. He especially depicts Jesus’ concern for those on the margins of society--shown as the Lord heals in the Garden, comforts the weeping women, forgives his executioners, and welcomes the repentant thief.
The knowledge and perspective we bring to any experience determines how we feel about that experience. Lent is a time to alter our way of looking at ourselves and our world. What surprises await us this week as we re-orient ourselves based on our coming to know Jesus Christ?
The Gospel story today is the familiar one of the prodigal son, better titled “The Father Who Couldn’t Forget.” There our God is portrayed as the parent who waited day after day for his errant child to return.