Praying Sunday’s Gospel: May 24

Resources for Lectio Divina + Visio Divina + Audio Divina + Video Divina

Ascension Sunday ,  May 24th, 2020

Matthew 28:16-20. Sunday Mass Readings from Living With Christ

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

Matthew 28:19

Resources for Lectio Divina + Visio Divina + Audio Divina + Video Divina

Ascension Sunday ,  May 24th, 2020

Matthew 28:16-20. Sunday Mass Readings from Living With Christ

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

Matthew 28:19

Lectio Divina

Today’s Gospel is taken from the conclusion of the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew’s Gospel quickly moves from the disciples’ discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb, to Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, to the commission that Jesus gives his disciples in today’s Gospel.

The Final Commission, as this Gospel is sometimes called, is given on the mountaintop. Throughout Scripture, the most important events happen on the mountaintop, and Matthew has used this motif throughout his Gospel. Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, Peter, James, and John had seen Jesus transfigured on the mountaintop (Matthew 17:1-8). Also in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus taught the crowds from the mountaintop in what we now call the Sermon on the Mount.

Here we are told that the eleven disciples go the mountaintop in Galilee, as Jesus had instructed through Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (cf. Matthew 28:9-10). They see Jesus, and both worship and doubt at the same time. Jesus approaches them and commissions them to baptize and teach, “to make disciples of all nations.” It is a task which Jesus had previously prepared his disciples for; recall that Jesus had sent the twelve apostles to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal (cf. Matthew 10:1-15). However, earlier the Twelve were sent only to the House of Israel; in this Final Commission, the eleven are told to go to “all nations.” The mission of Jesus is now to be taken to all people; the task now is to baptize and to teach.

Jesus commissions his disciples to baptize in the name of the Trinity, one of the clearest attestations found in Scripture for baptism in the name of the Trinity. In the Acts of the Apostles and in the Letters of Paul, baptism is more frequently offered “in the name of Jesus.”

The ending of Matthew’s Gospel can be understood as the beginning of the Church. Jesus commissions his disciples to continue to teach in his name and to bring others into the community of disciples through baptism. The Gospel ends, as it had begun, with the promise that Jesus will continue to be Emmanuel, “God with us” (cf. Matthew 1:23), for all eternity. Loyola Press

Questions:

  1. What struck you and touched your heart most?
  2. How do the disciples react?
  3. What is the content of Jesus’ words to the disciples?
  4. What does it mean to live as a disciple?
  5. Who am I called to serve as a missionary disciple?
  6. How do I experience the abiding presence of God?
  7. When am I most in need of God’s presence?
  8. How does this passage connect with the experience of your daily life?

Other Resources for Lectio Divina of John 14: 15-21


Audio Divina and Video Divina

Testify to Love
Wynonna

View the video and answer the reflection questions below.

  1. What does it mean to testify?
  2. What is the connection between the Gospel and this song?
  3. In what ways do we testify of Christ’s love, particularly in our current situation?
  4. Why is the tempo of the song appropriate in conveying this message?
  5. What reminders can we have in our homes to help us to make disciples of all nations by testifying to love?

Visio Divina

The Ascension by Salvador Dali

Visio Divina of The Ascension by Salvador Dali

  • Pray in quiet with your eyes closed. Bring yourself towards stillness.
  • Gaze at the image. Let your eyes rest on the scene. Note your feelings as you examine the whole and parts of the work.
  • Read Matthew 28: 16-20
  • Gaze at the work again. Imagine that you are in this scene. What do you see from your vantage point? What you hear? smell? sense?
  • Read the Commentary by patrick van der Vorst below. How does these insights enrich your understanding?
  • How is the sacred present to you in this experience?
  • How does this Visio Divina relate to your life now?
  • What insight from this experience do you want to retain? How will you do that?
  • Complete the Visio Divina by offering a prayer of thanksgiving.

Commentary by Patrick van der Vorst

Like with all of Dali’s paintings, the composition is quite complex, and yet very striking at the same time. The first thing we notice is that we look up to Christ’s feet drawing our eye inwards and upwards along his body to the dove above, symbolising the Holy Spirit. As with most of Dali’s paintings of Christ, his face is not visible. Dali didn’t feel worthy of painting Christ’s face, a simple but yet beautiful gesture of the artist when he was painting religious subjects.

Above Christ is Gala, her eyes wet with tears. Gala was Dali’s wife who he adored and often used to model the figure of Our Lady. The figure of Christ, from his feet in the foreground to his outstretched arms, forms a perfect triangle, the Trinity. The yellowish circle behind Christ is the enlarged structure of an atom. Dali said about this: ‘In my dream, which was in vivid color, I saw the nucleus of an atom, which we see in the background of the painting; this nucleus is the true representation of the unifying spirit of Christ, within all of us.’

For me however, there is even more going on. In this painting Dali masterfully brings three central Christian themes together:  The Crucifixion: Christ here is shown in Crucifixion pose. His hands are more reminiscent of agony than ecstasy or joy of ascending back to His Father. Christ’s hands are almost claw like, reflecting great pain. Also his feet are aligned together as they are on the cross. Furthermore, he is not wearing traditional Ascension clothing, but the loincloth typical of his Passion paintings. The Resurrection: Look at Christ’s hands and feet: no marks of the crucifixion on the resurrected body of Christ. His arms are clean of scars, no pierced hands, no spear mark in his side… Jesus triumph over death is shown.  The Ascension: the tile of the this painting and as explained above, in the composition we see Christ ascending into heaven. After Christ being crucified and raising from the dead, he now ascends into heaven. All three events subtly brought together in the one painting. ‘Now I am going to the One who sent me’.

See also Christian.art for another Visio Divina on the Ascension with a commentary by Patrick van der Vorst


Ascension Visio Divina for Children – Sunday 24 May


Lectio and Visio Divina with Stephen J. Binz YouTube Video

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