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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, May 20, 2012

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

May 20, Ascension of the Lord

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9

2) Ephesians 1:17-23 or Ephesians 4:1-13

Gospel: Mark 16:15-20

When our son was a youngster, he played T-ball with a local YMCA league. For readers not familiar with the game, it's like baseball, but the batter swings at a ball perched on an adjustable tee in lieu of a pitched ball. David's position was usually in the outfield, which was a problem.

Like many boys his age, he had an active imagination and was prone to daydreaming, especially when relatively few hits reached the outfield to command his attention. Thus it invariably happened that when a ball finally found its way to his vicinity, he was usually looking up at the sky or at something more interesting away from the field of play. Distant from the action in the infield and lulled into complacency, he was caught unprepared to fulfill the task his team was counting on him to do.

Before his ascension to the Father, Jesus gave his disciples a clear mandate: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they would go on to be Christ's witnesses "in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." In most cases, their zealous and single-minded obedience would result in martyrdom.

You or I may not be called to martyrdom (although far more of our contemporaries have given their lives for Christ than in the first century), but our directive from the risen Lord is no different and no less critical.

However, perhaps because of both our geographical and chronological distance from Jesus' earthly ministry, we are either looking up at the sky for his eventual return, or we're looking down at the ground at our own cares and concerns.

Either way, we're not focused outward to fulfill the task we've been given which is to "equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ."

Each of us is called to proclaim the Gospel in our own unique way, in our own set of circumstances and to persons whom no one else might be in a position to reach. St. Paul assures us that the same "grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift." To borrow a saying from another sport: "The ball's in our court." What are we waiting for?


To whom is the Spirit calling you to share the good news of Jesus Christ? What is keeping you from fulfilling the task you've been given?


"Why are you standing there looking at the sky?" (Acts 1:11).


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