Above photograph: thanks to Matt Botsford
The Ascension of the Lord
Reflection on the Gospel-Feast of the Ascension Year B (Mark 16:15-20)
The feast of the Ascension invites us to face the universal experience of loss, the loss of a loved one or of something precious to us, and to face this experience in a transformative way.
In Ordinary Time, we celebrate the life and ministry of Jesus. Over the period of Lent and Easter, we have been re-membering his death and resurrection. The liturgy now draws us into another aspect of the Mystery, that of the presence and absence of the One who has been raised. The physical loss of Jesus means a new and different sort of presence. Like the early Christians, we need time to grasp each dimension of the one great Mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, time to ponder the implications of this great Mystery for us and for our planetary home.
Today's gospel passage receives little attention in commentaries and classes because, along with the immediately preceding passage (Mark 16:9-14), it is a late addition to the original text of Mark's gospel. The author of these verses is familiar with the similar commission to proclaim the good news to all nations and to baptise in the name of the Trinity, found at the end of Matthew's gospel. In Mark 16:15, the command is to go “into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation (ktisis).” It is a more inclusive vision than Matthew's and opens a space for an ecological reading of the text, an extension from the human to the other-than and more-than-human elements of the Earth community.
The command to proclaim the good news, the gospel, recalls the first words of the Markan Jesus, "The time is fulfilled, and the kin-dom of God has come near; repent [=expand your horizons], and believe in the good news" (1:15). If we were to accept that our mission in the “in-between times” is to bring the gospel to all creation, then we might take more seriously God’s command in Genesis 2 to reverence and protect the earth (usually translated as “to till and to keep”). We might stop polluting the air that all creatures need for life. We might also read the affirmations of Genesis 1 through the lens of Mark 16 and respect once more the intrinsic goodness of all creation as a gospel imperative.
The “Ascension” event recounted towards the end of the passage presupposes a pre-scientific, three-tiered understanding of the structure of the cosmos. In this ancient view, God is in the heavens above and Jesus is caught up into God's realm. The vertical movement is balanced by a horizontal movement: Jesus’ return to “the right hand of God” ensures a different kind of presence in the church despite his seeming absence, one that enables believers to stop “looking up to the heavens” (Acts 1:11) and to continue the healing and re-creative ministry of Jesus “to all creation”.
Veronica Lawson RSM
The Pope's prayer intention - May 2021
Pohutukawa Coast Prayer Group
People from various churches are gathering to pray at St Mark's Anglican Church, 102 Maraetai Drive, Maraetai, Thursday mornings 7am. Open to all.
This group will meet via Zoom while present restrictions are in place.
Please contact Vivienne Gosbee at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join in.
Caring Group to help our community
They'll know we are Christians by our love. And one way we can show our Christian love is to care for one another, especially in times of need or distress.
Several people have already volunteered their services to start the Group but we need more. We also need to know if there is anyone who needs help from the Caring Group. So, if you would like to be a volunteer who may be called upon from time to time please contact Glenis Clapham (ph: 09 536 6305) or Kathie McNabney (ph: 09 530 8130). If you need some help or know of someone from our community who needs help please let Glenis or Kathie know.
Have you considered joining the parish planned giving programme? No more searching through your purse or wallet at collection time. You will be provided with a set of envelopes which need only be placed in the basket with your donation inside. And best of all at the end of each tax year you will receive a statement of your contributions so you can make a claim on your tax return.
Why not join up now. Contact the parish office or follow the link below for further information. Ph 5348710
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How giving a little can mean a lot
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
There are always people in need, sometimes long term, sometimes short term, sometimes in an emergency. The parish Food Bank, run by the Howick branch of the SVDP society, helps many families who find themselves in need of basic food items. Through supporting this we are putting into action the Church's principles of Social Justice: Human Dignity, Preferential Option for the Poor, the Common Good, Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Stewardship and Participation.
When you come to Mass at Beachlands try to bring one food item, a packet or can that can be added to the Food Bank, and place it in the basket on the table when you come in.
Giving a little can mean such a lot.
Please continue to keep Eileen Gallagher, Allan Saunders, Francis McNabney and other members of our community in your prayers.