Let us Pray.
Almighty and powerful God,
You raised Jesus from the dead and brought him up to heaven to be with you.
Help us carry his message to others.
Let our words and actions show your love to others.
Through the risen Christ we pray, Amen.
Opening Life Reflection
Write a letter or prepare a card for those in your parish who were initiated at the Easter Vigil. Tell them at least one way in which they were a blessing to you during their preparation or initiation. Maybe they made you think of your own baptism, or maybe you reflected on your own faults during the scrutinies. Many times, candidates and catechumens help us appreciate our parish community and being a member of the Body of Christ. Think about these things as you consider a person or people to address:
- What did you think on Sundays when these people were dismissed?
- What thoughts went through your mind when you saw the person being baptized? What did the look on his or her face tell you?
- What have been your thoughts in these past weeks as you see these new members of the Catholic Church at mass?
Share your letters and cards with the group before sending them. Incorporate into the letter or card ideas from other people and the discussion.
Listening to the Word of God
Listen to what Luke writes in the Book of Acts just after Jesus is taken up into heaven.
Read Acts 1:1-11
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- How do the Apostles envision the kingdom that Jesus is going to? How did Jesus respond to their misunderstanding?
- Why did Jesus want them to stay in Jerusalem?
- What did the angels tell the disciples about Jesus’ return?
Jesus knows that he has to go back to his Father. Listen to the instructions he gives the disciples before he leaves.
Read Luke 24:46-53
Allow for silence.
- What task does Jesus leave for the disciples to do?
- What promises does Jesus make to the disciples?
- Why are the disciples filled with joy? What are some stories you remember about times when the disciples were not filled with joy? Why do you think they changed?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background on the reading using the Catechist Background section.
Luke begins the Book of Acts at the point where he concludes his gospel. Jesus instructs the Apostles to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit descends upon them. The disciples are still confused about the kingdom Jesus is going to. They expect that Jesus’ kingdom will belong to Israel. The disciples see Jesus float toward heaven in a cloud and then two angels appear to them. The angels tell them that Jesus will be back and he will return in the same way he just went.
Jesus reminds the disciples of early prophecies that claim the savior’s death and resurrection. It is now time for Jesus to return to God, but before he goes, he tells the Apostles that they must carry out the work Jesus began. Beginning in Jerusalem, they must go into the world and tell others the Good News of Jesus. They are not expected to do this on their own. Jesus tells them that they will receive strength and power from the Holy Spirit. The Apostles are very happy to hear this news and also happy to do what Jesus asks.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- Have you ever had someone you care about move away? Recalling that experience, how do you think the disciples felt about Jesus leaving them?
- How do you think a blessing from Jesus may have helped them feel better?
- When have you been blessed in order to receive special strength?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Jesus Ascended into Heaven
In order to fulfill the scriptures and God’s plan for salvation, Jesus had to leave his human form and earthly existence. He left the earth and returned to God. We acknowledge this in the Nicene Creed, our profession of faith, when we say, “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.” But we believe that Jesus is still with us, providing strength for our journey. In the same way he promised to be with the disciples, he is with us as well. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit so that the disciples would not be alone in their mission to carry Jesus’ message into the world. We also receive the Holy Spirit and always have Jesus with us as we follow him.
- When have you felt Jesus especially close to you?
- How does knowing Jesus is in heaven give you hope?
- What has helped you carry the Good News to others?
In baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and in confirmation we are sealed with the gifts of the Spirit. Through these sacraments, the Spirit strengthens us to continue the mission Jesus began on earth. Sometimes it is not easy to follow Jesus, but these sacraments give us the gifts we need to be disciples. We receive courage, wisdom and good judgment for making decisions. When people witness how we live using these gifts, they also witness the work of Jesus through us.
The Gospel in Life
Jesus encouraged his friends and gave them a blessing. Find someone this week who needs special help and encouragement. Let them see Jesus’ love through something you do to help them.
Connecting to Be My Disciples
Grade 4, p. 59
Grade 5, p. 59
Grade 6, p. 59
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 3
Grade 4, chapter 7
Grade 5, chapter 7
Grade 6, chapter 5
Blest Are We
Grade 4, chapter 1
Grade 5, chapter 8
Grade 6, chapter 3