by Linda Cernik, Notre Dame Associate
Why do you stand looking up at the sky? The “problem” of the Ascension is that we would like to “hang onto” Jesus as his disciples knew Him. I guess what we really need to do is appreciate that Jesus is in His rightful place “at the right hand of the Father.” From His heavenly throne Jesus unites Himself with his faithful people the Body of Christ. We shouldn’t gaze into the “sky,” our search for the Body of Christ can be found in all human problems here and now. It is in our suffering brothers and sisters that we behold the face of Jesus.
The Ascension of Jesus is the beginning of the time of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said I must go so that I can send the Holy Spirit. The Body of Christ is intertwined by the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to love and be devoted to one another. Jesus took care of the work of human salvation. We are to harvest the fruits of human salvation by living lives of love and encouraging others to know and welcome Jesus.
by Connie & Ron Determan, Notre Dame Associates
Our reading this week is “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Wow, what a wonderful promise! How often do we feel orphaned?
There are so many days that I doubt the Lord’s love and feel orphaned but it is so evident around me. Why can I not see him walking with me – am I like His disciples on the road to Emmaus – I do not recognize him? He is so present in our daily lives but at times I do feel orphaned. Even when our health is failing or our loved ones hurt us – He is walking with us though we do not recognize Him.
I am recovering from a stroke that happened last fall. As I recover, I am going through what I call “brain therapy”. During these sessions, I work on my concentration and focus. One of the exercises includes trying to get a silly monkey up a tree for him to get rewarded with bananas. This takes concentration and focus. As soon as I lose my focus and think of something I need to be doing or something I did wrong, that silly monkey falls back to the ground. I have to take time to stop and again just focus on the monkey and getting him up that tree. So how do I increase my focus and concentration?
We race through our day trying to accomplish so much but do not take time to walk with Him or truly focus on Him. How are we like His disciples and not recognize Jesus? Are we losing our focus on Jesus? Are we feeling orphaned? His message this week is that we will not be orphaned – let us keep our focus on Jesus and not think about the things we need to do or the things we did wrong and feel orphaned. Take time to spend with Jesus and you will know He truly has not left us orphaned!
by Sr. Dorothy Rolf, ND
(John 14: 1-12)
The Gospel Readings from the Second Sunday of Easter to Ascension Thursday are all taken from the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John Jesus tells his Disciples and us how to follow Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Today Jesus says: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” What enters your mind as you hear those words? So comforting yet so difficult! Jesus goes on to say “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Believing that, we can understand how not to let our hearts be troubled. Jesus, “the Way” shows us how to love and trust God, the Compassionate One, as he did in the worst of situations.
Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks as “the Truth” about his oneness with the Father. He says: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
And, “I am the Life.” Jesus is the One who gives us life. We know and have experienced that this happens in our times of prayer, celebrating Liturgy, receiving the sacraments especially Holy Communion, being of service to others in our ministries, and trusting that Jesus has promised to send us the Holy Spirit.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” This week, take time for silent reflection on how Jesus our Way, Our Truth and Our Life makes this a reality for you.
By Sr. Margaret Proskovec, ND
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." Jn. 10:10
Growing up, my younger brother spent one summer raising a lamb. The cries of this tiny, soft-wooled creature sounded much like those of a human baby. Even though there were seven of us children, little Chico knew my brother’s voice and followed him wherever he went about the farm, wagging its tail happily and scampering to keep up with him. Starting with bottle feeding the little lamb, Bob gave Chico the food, exercise, and shelter he needed in order to grow into a fully mature sheep.
When I reflected on this Sunday’s readings, this image stood clearly in my mind and offered some sense of Jesus’ image of the care of the shepherd and the trust of the lamb.
Hearing the Shepherd’s voice, how do I respond when he calls me by name? How do I respond when he calls me to:
Do I really believe him when he says: “I have come so that they might have life and have it more abundantly?"
Our Shepherd, Jesus, walked with us, taught us by word and example, suffered the worst of what human beings can suffer, and died in order to open the gate to God’s great love and boundless life for us. Do I trust him enough to accompany him on the adventures where he takes me?
Beloved Shepherd, grant that I may allow myself to be guided by you, follow your designs, and accomplish your desires. Grant that in all things, great and small, today and all the days of my life, I may do whatever you call forth from me. Help me to respond to the promptings of your grace, so that I may be your trustworthy instrument. May your will be done by me, in me, and through me. Amen. [St. Teresa of Avila]