June 2nd, 2011 (see other dates)
The Ascension of the Lord (Solemnity, Holy Day of Obligation)
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Even after all they had seen in Jesus, the apostles still had questions. They asked, "Lord, are you going to restore the rule to Israel now?" They were still wondering when Jesus was going to establish his kingdom and make everything right. His answer to them was, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down on you; then you are to be my witnesses." Then it was the angels? turn to ask a question, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up at the skies?" (That was a big hint: Jesus gave you a job to do! Let?s not waste any more time! Start witnessing!)
Why do you think the Reflection section above called Jesus a Hero?
Do you have a question for Jesus? Think and pray about it. What is Jesus? answer? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your life of witnessing to Jesus and his way. How can you be like Jesus and follow him? How can you do this at home, in school, with friends?
Reading 1 Acts 1:1-11
Reading 1 ReflectionNote: The ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, and the State of Nebraska celebrate the Ascension of the Lord today, Thursday, May 5. All other provinces in the United States have transferred their celebration to Sunday, May 8.
In today?s reading from Acts, the true hero who saves us all is taken from our sight. Although he has completed his mission, Jesus does not leave us on our own. His promised Holy Spirit remains with us always.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2This reading proclaims that we are the body of Christ. As his body, we share in all that Jesus Christ is and has. Look at these words and phrases. What do they mean? Have you ever sensed that this word or phrase describes you at least some of the time? How can you help these great gifts grow in you?
Reading 2 Ephesians 1:17-23
Reading 2 ReflectionInto what sort of life did Jesus ascend? The letter to the Ephesians tells us that Christ now reigns over the universe from his throne at God's right hand. He has claimed his inheritance of glory and greatness and power. Christ is the head, and we are the body, of the Church. Together we journey toward the fulfillment of God's reign.
Discussion Questions for GospelHow will you "go, baptize, and teach" today, in your particular situation, with and for the people God has placed in your life? Are you ready and willing to be an apostle today?
Gospel Matthew 28:16-20
Gospel ReflectionThis is the closing scene from Matthew's Gospel. The eleven disciples have returned to Galilee after receive the good news of the resurrection from Mary Magdalene. At their first sight of the risen Lord, the disciples still cannot shake off all their doubt. But when Jesus speaks, they recognize his voice and his message. They are to go, baptize, and teach. They are to invite all nations to become disciples of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we might get the idea that this happened such a long time ago, and the "going, baptizing, and teaching" were for the apostles and not for us today. Of course the apostles and their successors?the pope and bishops, and their helpers, the priests?have a great responsibility here. But the rest of us also belong to the "priesthood of the faithful." We also can go to others, reach out with a helping hand, a friendly welcome, a listening ear. We can "baptize" others, not with water (unless it is an emergency and the one we are baptizing is in danger of death), but with our prayers, our love, and our concern. We can teach the way of Jesus in the best way possible?by our example. Every follower of Jesus is an apostle is this way. And we can do this because Jesus is with us always, to the end!
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Jesus Is With Us!In today's gospel Jesus told us that he would be with us always. Work on a "With You Always" acrostic as a group. Write the letters for WITH YOU ALWAYS down the left-hand side of a sheet of poster board or chart paper, one letter per line. On the line next to the letter, invite the children to think of a way or a time when Jesus is with us. For W, the group could write, "When I pray." For I, "In school." For T, "talking to my grandma," etc. This will help to concretize what "always" means.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Reaching Out to the NationsJesus wanted his disciples to reach out to all the nations. In the United States, most of us (except Native Americans) can trace our ancestry to another country in the world. For this reason we are called "A Nation of Immigrants." Are there people in your school, neighborhood, or parish who are directly from other nations or cultures? How might you with your family or friends or religion group reach out to them?
My Reach Out Mission
who is from __________________________________________
and is a member of _____________________________________.
I will learn more about your native country
I will extend hospitality by ________________________________
I will reflect the love of Jesus for you by _____________________
You might like to learn more about the country or countries from which your own ancestors came. Present a map of that country with a report about its customs and people. You may find that you have a "World Summit Meeting" right in your own group or class!
Cloud WritingOur reading from Acts tells us that a cloud took Jesus out of sight of the disciples. To celebrate the feast of the Ascension, draw a large open cloud shape on a piece of paper. In the cloud, write a short poem. Consider: How might Jesus have felt as he parted from his friends? How might his friends have felt about his ascending into glory?
If you like, you can use of these poem-starters:
Remember, a poem does not have to rhyme. This sample given below, however, does.
How will you share your poems with others?
An Ascension Poem
You have not left us all alone
And we?ll follow you on the morrow.
The earth will shine like a marble blue
And your friends will gather to welcome you.
We await you, Jesus.
Come to us in glory!
Now let your face shine on us
As we live your loving story!
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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