Feast of the Ascension: Mark 16: 15-20
Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them, “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation, He who believes and is baptised will be saved, he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers; in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.” And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven; there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.
1. “Proclaim the good news”. The world we live in today is one where “fake news” abounds. Good news is often hard to find when we listen to or read about the many horrendous acts of violence and cruelty being inflicted on fellow human beings. Let us remember today all those who try to “proclaim the good news” – the many volunteers working in war torn countries helping to rebuild broken communities. Our local volunteers who provide the homeless with a hot meal and a warm blanket. The family member who sees the positive when it is tempting to despair. Offer a prayer of thanks for these messengers of hope.
2. “They will have the gifts of tongues” remember a time when it was important to say the correct words. When the wrong words would have hardened minds and caused disharmony. Who were those with the “gift of tongues” who knew just what to say to in difficult circumstances – in family life or political life? Give thanks for these people and pray that the will continue to use their communication skills for the wellbeing of all.
3. “He was taken up to heaven”. Remember a time when someone important to you or your family left – Emigration, bereavement, relocation. Recall the feeling of emptiness you experienced at the time and yet now with hindsight you can recognise that their leaving had to happen. It opened the way for new opportunities for yourself and them. With gratitude offer a prayer for those people.