Ascension Sunday

by Sr. Juliemarie Mcdonald, SND. on 05/06/2016

in Easter

Ascension Sunday — Cycle C

May 8, 2016

Ascension Sunday

Read:    Acts 1:1-11     Eph 1:17-23     Lk 24:46-53


            “You are witnesses of these things.” (Lk 24:48) Because the disciples were witnesses of Jesus’ ministry, death, rising and ascension, he commissioned them to preach in his name. Anthony J. Gittens reminds disciples that “to be true disciples they must actually become a presence that disturbs.” (A Presence That Disturbs, p.xx)

Have you ever noticed the “disturbing presence” of God in your life? Like the repetitive clicking of a clock, God’s voice chides, suggests, enlightens and even at times lures us.  This voice is the Holy Spirit, who lovingly wants to interrupt our lives of complacency and comfort. As disciples, we are to renew the face of the earth by our own creativity.  We are called to create harmony out of the chaos around us. We ourselves need to be disturbed enough so that we no longer look away from the faces of suffering humanity, but look compassionately at these women, men and children. Where will we find these faces? Search for the homeless on the streets, resting beneath bridges and sometimes sleeping in cars. It is easy to find addicts.  They are found in every walk of life. Drugs, alcohol, pornography and, in our technological age, computer games have become addictive, even in our convents. When we identify the chaos around us, when we truly “look it in the eye,” then it can disturb us into action.

What are some of the actions we can take? Usually when you ask that question of an aged, retired Sister, her first answer might be “pray.” True, Tennyson would agree. Didn’t he say, “more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”? Other actions for reform might include phone calls, letters and e-mails. We can also join groups who take action for the marginalized. “The Spirit is trying to interrupt us—individually and as congregations—precisely when we refuse to be shocked and galvanized into action, even as we resist the cries of the poor, blame victims, and justify our own comforts and achievements.” (A Presence That Disturbs, Anthony J. Gittens, p. 40)

Individually is the place to begin.  Our actions will speak louder than any words read or heard. After you really see the chaos, you can begin a program of action. Ask that a fire will begin to flame forth from your heart. Perhaps a spark will touch off a blaze in the heart of another. Allow the Spirit to interrupt you first! During this year of the General Chapter, be the one to fan the flame for a deeper renewal of our individual communities. By your Christ-like actions, help anyone whose embers are about to turn to ashes. Go, be a presence that disturbs!


            “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” (James Balwin)


            Risen Savior, thank you for giving me the task of preaching in your name. Open my eyes to the chaos around me. Grant me grace to bring harmony and hope to others as you did. Amen.


            Holy Spirit, when you speak may I not turn a deaf ear. Your words are spirit and life. In what way do you want my life to be a “disturbing  presence”?


Sharing Our Ponderings

Opening Song: BB #390 “God Has Chosen Me,” Verse 1


In each of our missions all over the world, God has chosen us to teach in Jesus’ name. As Sisters of Notre Dame we are challenged “to immerse ourselves in the culture of the people we serve and to discern with them their needs.” (Constitutions, Art. 67) The closing invitation of this week’s reflection was: “Go, be a presence that disturbs.” The first persons who need to be disturbed are ourselves. We need to move out of our comfort zones and begin asking the questions “what if?” or “why not?” We may be thinking, what can one person do? But we are not alone. The Spirit is always present to guide us, and our Sisters are present to support us. What do you as an individual, imagine your place of mission could be?

All: BB #390 “God Has Chosen Me,” Verse 2


  1. What do you see as major needs in your place of ministry?
  2. Which civic leaders needs to be informed, and perhaps disturbed by your requests?
  3. Why do we hesitate to be risk-takers?
  4. What risks have already been taken in your place of ministry?
  5. Do you see anything in your local community, or in the community at large, that needs to be changed so that we can be a presence that disturbs?


            Just as God sent Jesus into the world, Jesus’ final words to the disciples and to us send us all as missionaries.  We become the hands, feet and heart of Jesus bringing the good news of the gospel to all corners of the world.  He says to us, as he often said to others, “Be not afraid.”

Closing Song:  BB #390 “God Has Chosen Us,” Verse 3

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sr. Renetta Graff May 7, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Thank you for challenging me to be alert to the disturbing presence of the Spirit in my life — in each person whom I meet.


Sr. Juliemarie McDonald May 9, 2016 at 11:11 am

Renettta, Your welcome. Looking forward to our summer meeting. Working on the Pentecost poem. Pray to the Spirit for me so I am guided to write what our good God wants our readers to hear. Jm


Leave a Comment