Acts 7: 55-60 Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20 John 17:20-26
A Dominican Sisters reflects: this is the last Sunday of the Easter Season which ends next Sunday with Pentecost. The readings all reflect a sort of “coming to the end” or ‘”coming to a beginning.”
In the reading from Acts, Stephen, after a very long and eloquent speech claiming that Jesus is the Messiah who was promised, is attacked for this belief, taken outside the city, and stoned to death. This marks the place in Acts where the faith in Jesus begins to spread throughout the Roman world! This is a new beginning!
The second reading from Revelation, which comes near the end of this Biblical work, reminds the listener that Jesus remains with us in all things and at all times, The reading, the chapter, the entire Book of Revelation ends with the word, Maranatha, – Come Lord Jesus. We are always at a beginning!
This passage from the Gospel of John is the ending of the very long passage, recorded only in John’s Gospel, detailing the words of Jesus just prior to his arrest. In this text Jesus prays, not only for his disciples but for all believers. In his prayer,. Jesus prays for those who will be drawn into the flock through the word of the disciples. Just before his arrest he prays for the future of all his followers – for new beginnings!
What can we take away from these readings?
During these last six weeks we have been celebrating the very core of our Christian faith – that Jesus is risen and calls us all to be with him in this life and the next, What a gift our God offers to us! We are challenged to keep reflecting on the Risen Christ and how we live out our call to be His followers. Let’s not let that out of our sights as the Easter season draws to a close! Remember, we are not coming to an end but coming to a beginning!
Ascension of the Lord
Although the feast of the Ascension has traditionally been celebrated on the Thursday between the sixth and seventh Sundays of Easter, many churches have moved the feast to the following Sunday.
The story of the Ascension is told by Luke twice, at the end of his account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in his Gospel, and at the beginning of Acts of the Apostles. This feast commemorates a pivotal time in the history of Christianity: the departure of Jesus and the beginning of what would become “The Church.”
The readings for the day center around these “faith statements:” Jesus returns to his heavenly home and the disciples begin their task of spreading the Good News and forming communities who will carry on his work. The feast itself is a preparation for what is to come – Pentecost! The Spirit will bring to the disciples and those who follow in their footsteps, in the words of the Letter to the Ephesians, the spirit of wisdom, enlightened hearts, and the power of belief in Christ to do great works! May we too follow in these footsteps!
Anneliese Sinnott, OP