Ascension of the Lord, Cycle C

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Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.


The Ascension of the Lord, Cycle C

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Note: In places where the feast of the Ascension of the Lord is not celebrated on the Thursday of the sixth week of Easter, the feast is moved to the seventh Sunday of Easter.


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11
Jesus is taken up to heaven in the presence of the Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 47:2-3,6-9
Sing praise to God as he mounts his throne.

Second Reading
Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23
God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand.

Gospel Reading
Luke 24:46-53
Jesus is taken to heaven and the disciples remain in Jerusalem awaiting his sending of the Spirit.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today is our liturgical celebration of the Ascension of the Lord, when Jesus was taken to heaven on the 40th day after Easter. In Cycle C, our Gospel is taken from the conclusion of the Gospel of Luke.

There are similarities in the reports of Jesus' Ascension found in the Synoptic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, and Luke. In each account, Jesus assigns his disciples the task of proclaiming the Gospel to the entire world. There are also notable distinctions. In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, the disciples are sent by Jesus to baptize as well as to preach. In Luke's Gospel, however, this commission to baptize is absent. Instead, Jesus directs the disciples to return to Jerusalem to await the fulfillment of his promise to send them the Holy Spirit. Curiously, only Mark and Luke actually report Jesus' Ascension into heaven. Matthew's Gospel concludes with Jesus' promise to remain with his disciples forever. Only the Gospel of Mark notes that Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of God. In noting this, Mark teaches that Jesus' Ascension affirms the glory Jesus received from God after his death and Resurrection.

Those who believe in Jesus will be empowered to do what Jesus himself has done. Already in Mark's Gospel, during his ministry, Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, to heal, and to drive out unclean spirits. Now, they are sent again to do these things and more. From his place with God in heaven, Jesus helped his disciples, and he continues to help us as we try to live as his followers.


Gospel Reading
Luke 24:46-53
Jesus is taken to heaven and the disciples remain in Jerusalem awaiting his sending of the Spirit.


Making the Connection (Grades 1, 2, and 3)

Disciples throughout the centuries have followed Jesus’ instruction to preach his Gospel to all nations. We can lead younger children to understand that their own knowledge of Jesus’ life and teachings is a result of the disciples’ faithful commitment to continue Jesus’ missio.

Materials Needed

  • none

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite children to name or briefly describe an event that happened before they were born. Say: We learn about these events because the people who were there remembered them and talked about them. Jesus’ ministry, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension happened many years ago. Ask: How do we know about them? (We read about them in the Bible; we hear about them at Mass; our parents, priests, or teachers tell us about them.)
  2. Say: Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, the day when Jesus was raised up to heaven by God. Let’s listen carefully to hear what Jesus asked of his disciples before he was taken up to heaven. 
  3.  Read today’s Gospel, Luke 24:46–53.
  4. Say: Before Jesus ascended into heaven to be with God the Father, he gave the disciples important instructions. They were to tell people all over the world about Jesus’ life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. They were to preach repentance—or turning our hearts away from sin and back to God—and forgiveness of sins. 
  5. Say: Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ followers have followed these instructions for all this time. Ask: Who are some people who have taught you about Jesus? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Say: Let’s pray for all those who share God’s Word as Jesus taught us to do. 
  6. Conclude by praying that God watch over all those who share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.


Gospel Reading
Luke 24:46-53
Jesus is taken to heaven and the disciples remain in Jerusalem awaiting his sending of the Spirit.


Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6)

The Ascension of Jesus marks the definitive entrance of Jesus' humanity into God's presence, where he sits at God's right hand. From there he will come to judge us all at the end of time.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the young people to think about a time when they called upon another person who they believed had more knowledge and/or power to help them. Perhaps they have asked a parent to help resolve a conflict with a sibling or asked a teacher for help to resolve a classroom matter.

  2. Say: As we mature, we are able to do many more things on our own. But each of us, every now and then, requires a little extra assistance from someone who has more knowledge and power than we have. In some ways, we can think about the assistance that we receive from Jesus in this way. This is one of the things we remember as we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension.

  3. Say: In this Sunday's Gospel, we hear the instructions that Jesus gave to his disciples before he was taken up to heaven. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel. Invite one or more volunteers to read Luke 24:46-53.

  4. Ask: What instructions does Jesus give to his disciples? (Preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins to all nations, be witnesses, and remain in the city until they are clothed with power from on high.)

  5. Ask: What do you think Jesus was talking about when he told the disciples that they would be clothed with power from on high? (They will be filled with the Holy Spirit.) Say: Forty days after his Resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven. We certainly have a very powerful ally in Jesus. If we ask him, he will help us to follow his example.

  6. Conclude by praying that we will remember to call upon Jesus to help us as we try to follow his example. Pray together the Apostles' Creed.


Gospel Reading
Luke 24:46-53

Jesus is taken to heaven and the disciples remain in Jerusalem awaiting his sending of the Spirit.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

The Ascension of Jesus marks the definitive entrance of Jesus' humanity into God's presence, where he sits at God's right hand. From there he will come to judge us all at the end of time.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Reading

  1. Ask the young people to indicate whether they are right- or left-handed.

  2. Point out that approximately 10% of the population is left-handed and that, years ago, it was considered abnormal to be left-handed.

  3. Tell the young people that the Latin word for “left” is sinister, which means “evil.” Explain that today we know that being left-handed is comparable to being brown-eyed—it is simply a trait you are born with.

  4. Mention that, since the right hand was traditionally considered the proper hand, it became customary to refer to sitting at someone's right hand as a symbol of approval and as a place of honor.

  5. Ask the young people to complete the following line from the Nicene Creed that speaks about Jesus: “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the ____________ hand of the Father.” (right)

  6. Explain that, when we say Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, we are not speaking of a physical place but of the honor that Jesus is owed because of the Father's love and approval for him.

  7. Explain that this Sunday's Gospel tells us the story of Jesus ascending into heaven.

  8. Invite volunteers to read aloud Luke 24:46-53.

  9. Mention that Mark's version of the Ascension of Jesus (Mark 16:19-20) actually mentions Jesus taking his place at the right hand of the Father.

  10. Conclude by praying together the Nicene Creed.


Gospel Reading
Luke 24:46-53
Jesus is taken to heaven and the disciples remain in Jerusalem awaiting his sending of the Spirit.


Family Connection

Any family that has tried to sit down to a family dinner or packed the car for a trip has heard children argue at least once about who should sit where. To sit next to someone, especially if that person is important, is to have a place of honor. Jesus has this place of honor, seated now at the right hand of the Father (as we say in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed), but there's more to this metaphor than where Jesus sits in relation to God. To be in the place of honor is also to be in a place of power. Knowing people in powerful places can be very helpful. Children remind us of this each time we are called upon to referee a conflict. Jesus, honored now at God's right hand, is a powerful ally for us.

As you gather as a family, recall a time when there was a discussion, or perhaps even an argument, about where people were going to sit. Talk about why it might be important to a person to sit in a particular place. Mention that in this Sunday's Gospel we learn about Jesus' place in heaven. Read together Luke 24:46-53. Talk about how in the Creed we describe Jesus' place in heaven as “seated at the right hand of the Father.” Discuss what we might learn about the relationship between God and Jesus from today's Gospel and from the Creed and what we can learn about Jesus' relationship to us. Observe that one of the things we learn is that Jesus continues to help us from this place of honor in heaven. Pray together the Apostles' Creed.