May 12, 2024

Lectionary Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Ps. 46:2-3. 6-9; Eph. 1:17-23; Mk 16:15-20

Theme:  Today’s universal  mission

The Catholic Church commemorates Jesus Christ’s Ascension into heaven on May 9 or 12 this year. The Church also celebrates the 58th World Day of Social Communications on the same date. Can we connect the two celebrations? Offhand, I say we can, if we consider our mission to be done.

        The ascension of Jesus into heaven is a one of the glorious mysteries of our faith.  When we go to Mass and recite the Apostles’ Creed, we say that we believe that Jesus “ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God.” He has completed his mission on earth and he has gone back to the Father in heaven, sharing in the divine glory.

     Before his ascension, Jesus gave the disciples the mission  to “go into all the world and proclaim the good newsto the whole creation (Mark 16:15).  In the first reading, Jesus said, “. . .  and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8).  The disciples are to continue the mission to bring people of the world  to the kingdom of God.

    As believers in Jesus Christ, we are faced with many ways to be  witnesses in our world today. To meet the challenges of witnessing  with the many changes in technology  in the modern world, Pope Paul Vl in 1967 established World Communication Day as an annual celebration to encourage us to reflect on how best to use the press, radio, television, motion pictures, and other forms of social media in communicating the gospel message.

    In his message for this year’s World Day of Social Communication, issued last January, Pope Francis  reflects on the use of recent technology in one’s evangelizing work.  He focuses on the theme: Artificial intelligence and the wisdom of the heart; towards fully human communication. The Holy Father notes  the  “risks of becoming rich in technology and poor in humanity.”   He begins his reflections with the human heart and says that in the Bible, the heart is seen as the place of freedom and decision-making and  above all, it is “the inward place of our encounter with God.” The Holy Father goes on to stress that such wisdom cannot be sought from machines. He  warns that “information cannot be separated from living relationships”  as relationships involve the body, the immersion into the real world, human experiences, and “compassion, and sharing.”

    In In  today’s  First Reading, we learn  that the disciples were given the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).  In the Gospel, we also learn that the Lord  worked with the disciples as they preached everywhere (Mark 16:20)  – Jesus is not just sitting at the right hand of the Father, he is working  within us. With the Holy Spirit, we are to  reflect on the best tool of technology to use in our mission to spread the Gospel;  and we do our mission with the heart of Jesus and as the Second Reading tells us, in his powerful name.

For Reflection and Discussion: 1. What do you consider to be your mission as a believer?  2 What are ways to do it?

Bibliography: Harrington and Donahue, Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Mark (Minnesota, 2002);;

This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Minerva Generalao, Philippines, Bat Kol alumna July 2014 and July 2023


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