Weekly Reflection

As part of my work as Manager, Campus Ministry for the University of Notre Dame Australia I write a weekly refection on the coming Sunday's Gospel and email it to all staff and students of the Fremantle Campus. This then is the weekly blog of those reflections, based on the Gospel readings for Sundays, as per the lectionary of the Roman Missal of Paul VI. Should these reflections find any readership whatsoever, I hope that it is edifying.
The title of my blog is taken from the English translation of Cardinal John Henry Newman's memorial epitaph, which was inscribed on his memorial plaque at the Birmingham Oratory.

Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem - Through Shadows and Images to Truth

Sunday, May 17, 2015

17 May 2015 - Ascension Sunday (in Australia)

Gospel Mk 16:15-20
“These are the signs that will be associated with believers…”

The story which we mark today is perhaps one of the most fantastic that we have in the Gospels. After his death and resurrection we’ve been regaled with tales of his numerous miraculous appearances to the disciples, and now we find him physically taken up into heaven, and seated at the right hand of God.
What more can we be asked to believe?
For the disciples this must have been an amazing experience. This period of 40 days or so since his resurrection, having witnessed something so incredible – one can scarcely imagine how deeply these events would have impacted them.
In his final discourse before his glorious ascension, Jesus tells the disciples of the signs which will accompany those who believe in him into the future. Contemporary readers such as ourselves may be tempted to scoff at such an assertion – looking around we rarely if ever see such miraculous signs taking place.
Throughout this Easter season we have been reading and reflecting on the miraculous events which followed their initial proclamation of the Gospel. But in our times these ‘miraculous experiences have become less frequent. What we do experience now however, is something more miraculous, more exceptional. ‘When Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn 20:29), his precise intention was to indicate the exceptional, miraculous nature of an event of which each one us is called to be a subject.’ (Why the Church? P. 94)
Sometimes we cry out for something that will banish all of our questioning questions and silence our doubts, but if such were to happen would our resulting acceptance truly be faith?

Our evidence, like that of those who were evangelised by the first disciples, is a life transformed by an encounter with Jesus. 

Food for thought
‘The Christian message announces the permanence of the fact of Christ, as a continuous happening – not something that happened once – but as something that still happens.’ (Luigi Giussani, Why the Church?, 203)

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