Feast of the Ascension

And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

This is a 5 minute facilitated meditation on opening ourselves to the presence of God within, particularly in the context of our current confinement

Alternatively use this method of entering quiet:

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Introduce the Gospel

The journey for the disciples of Jesus from the events of Easter through to Pentecost was one of growing in understanding. It is a journey from total confusion and loss through to the confidence of Pentecost Day, when they are empowered to spread the Good News of the resurrected Christ. The Gospels of these weeks between Easter and Pentecost are aimed at helping us to come more fully into that journey with them.

We could ask how is the Risen Lord with us? The New Testament and the church tradition offer a rich array of “presences.” Christ is present in the neighbour in need, in created reality beautiful and awe-inspiring, whenever the disciples gather, in the word proclaimed, in the sacrament celebrated and through the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps we do not always feel this presence, but the words of Jesus are a guarantee
that no matter what is going on in my life or my community or my church, he is with us, our Emmanuel.

Read the GospelMatthew: 28:16-20
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated.

Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.

And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

 Reflect on the Gospel

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Using some or all of the following questions, today and or on different occasions over the coming week reflect on this Gospel passage.

  1. It is time for Jesus to return to his Father. He meets his disciples for the last time. His final words give them direction for their future.
    Perhaps you can recall such parting moments in your own life – leaving home, school, college, training, the death of a loved one.
    What was that like for you? Was there an occasion when words spoken then gave you direction for your future?

  2. Perhaps you can identify with Jesus in the story, when as a parent, teacher, or in some other way you sent someone on his/her way in life knowing you would not be with him or her as in the past.
    When did the way you parted help the other to make his or her own way in life?

  3. Jesus told his disciples that although he would not be with them as in the past he would be with them in a new way right through their lives.
    Have there been times when you were reassured by the love and support of another even though s/he was not physically present with you?

  4. In parting with his disciples Jesus gave them a mission for the future.
    Where, when and how did you get a sense of the meaning and purpose of your own life?
    How does that sustain you now? Is there any way in which that purpose ties in with the mission given to the eleven to make disciples of all the nations?

  5. Matthew’s Gospel begins by introducing Jesus as “Emmanuel – God with us” and ends with the promise of Jesus to be with his disciples until the end of time.
    That promise is also to us. What are the things which help you to be aware of the presence of Jesus with you on life’s journey?

Finish this part with a Prayer

God of majesty, yours is the power that raised Christ from death, yours the glory
that exalted him to your right hand. By the mystery of the Ascension, sustain our hope as we bear witness to our baptism. By the perpetual outpouring of your Spirit confirm your Church in its mission of salvation.
Grant this through Jesus Christ, the first-born from the dead, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.

On this Feast of the Ascension, we turn to you our God who fills us with hope and offer You our prayer for our world and our community.

For Your church here in this time:  that we will be open to Your Spirit guiding us as witnesses to Your compassion and forgiveness for all the world.    Lord hear us

For our country, and the world, as economies open up again: that governments and leaders will make good decisions to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable, and that citizens will behave responsibly. Lord hear us

For our young people of Newtown Primary School, Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath, Kilcoole Primary School, Greystones Community NS, Greystones Educate Together NS, St. Patrick’s and St. Francis Church of Ireland schools who would have received the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation this week: that they may grow in their faith and their awareness of Your love for them and may continue to look forward to receiving these sacraments. Lord hear us

For bereaved families and individuals who have been unable to say goodbye to their loved ones as they depart from this life, and who have been unable to be comforted by their friends: Lord, let them feel your presence. Lord hear us

For courage as Christians: that we may be inspired by the faith and bravery of the disciples in the Acts of the Apostles who let go of everything and risked their lives to preach and live the Gospel Lord hear us

Now pray for your own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention Lord hear us

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember Lord hear us

Lord our God, we thank You that You are indeed always with us. Help us to find You and recognise where You truly are and not just where we want You to be.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, the first-born from the dead, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Use the quietening music one more time, if you wish, to bring your prayer time to a close.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel. – Click Here