After spending time with the Apostles after the Resurrection to prepare them for their mission, Jesus went back into heaven to get things ready for us. We need to remember that, just because he went to heaven, doesn’t mean he’s not still with us.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?
God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
When Luke tells the story of the Ascension, he uses words that sound familiar. He echoes the experience of the women at Jesus’ tomb when he had risen from the dead. Instead of addressing women and taking about the tomb, the angels say, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” In both situations the followers of Jesus couldn’t understand what was happening and needed it explained.
The letter to the Ephesians reminds us that Jesus is still in charge, and all things belong to him. Paul tells the Ephesians that he hopes that their hearts will understand what they need to do, that Jesus will help them in anything they’re called to, and what their reward will be when they join Jesus in heaven.
The Gospel says that the Apostles worshiped Jesus, “and they doubted.” It probably sounds surprising that they didn’t quite understand what Jesus was telling them, but the important thing is that they still did what they were supposed to, even though they didn’t fully understand. That’s what the Holy Spirit is for–to bring the understanding that gives us the rest of what we need to get the job done. They’re told to go and make disciples in every part of the world and to remember that when they go, they never go alone. Jesus is always with us.
Is there anything that you were taught about God that you don’t understand? You’re not alone! Ask an adult if they can help you understand, but be patient with them if they’re confused, too.
One of the most important things about what we celebrate today is that we believe that Jesus will come back the way he went up. What do you think Jesus would think of the world if he came back now? What can you do to improve your little corner of the world?
What are some ways that you make disciples for Jesus? What are some practical ways that your family can bring the Gospel to every nation?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”