Reflection materials excerpted from the Chinese edition of the New Testament with Lectio Divina (by Claretian Publications), translated by Fountain of Love and Life
Reflection: When Jesus was taken up into heaven, He gave a mission to His followers: to let His gospel be known by all. How do you fulfill this mission? Do you have the courage to talk to people about Jesus?
Prayer: Ask God for courage in order to fulfill the mission of spreading the gospel, as well as strength to face the uncertainties to come. Give thanks to God for sending us His Holy Spirit to be with us always.
Action: Make a concrete plan for yourself to live out your Christian identity and to fulfill your mission. Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to gradually carry out this plan.
Acts of the Apostles
The Promise of the Spirit.
1 In the first book,a Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught 2 until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak;d 5for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.”
The Ascension of Jesus.
6 When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you,g and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.h 10 While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.
The First Community in Jerusalem.
13 When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
The Choice of Judas’s Successo
15 During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, 16 “My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.m 17 He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. 18 He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his insides spilled out. 19 This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, Field of Blood. For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’ And: ‘May another take his office.’
21 Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24T hen they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” 26 Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.
Teaching from Fr. Francis Ching (Traditional and Simplified Chinese subtitles are available):
- “Wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven” – the sacrificial work began by Jesus is carried on by the Church of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the first Paraclete and the Holy Spirit is the second, “who leads you into the truth”.
- The Holy Spirit has already begun His work before Jesus’ time. The resurrected Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to His Apostles, showing the new revelations about the Spirit. The Spirit will lead the Apostles and the Church to fulfill Jesus’ salvation initiated on the cross.
- The sending forth of the Holy Spirit represents God’s self-giving who manifests Himself in a new way within the Holy Spirit. God’s self-giving begins in creation, transcended in Christ’s suffering, and fulfilled in the commissioning of the Holy Spirit to become the New Heaven and New Earth; a new creation.
- The OT foreshadows this important commissioning and a new era in salvation History. • “The Gospel of the Holy Spirit” manifests the Spirit-led Church: 2:1, 2:16, 4:8, 4:31, 7:55, 8:29-39, 10:19-20, 13:2, 15:28, 16:6, 20:22
The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus
- Jesus suffered on the Day of Preparation for Sabbath (14th), which is Friday (Jn 19:31); rose on the third day (Sunday), appeared for 40 days after His resurrection, and ascended into Heavens (from Easter Sunday to the Solemnity of Jesus’ Resurrection is 40 days)
- The meaning of 40 days
Waiting for the Coming of the Holy Spirit
- Mary prays faithfully with hope as she awaits the birth of Jesus and the Church (the Mystical Body of Christ). She plays a crucial role in the incarnation of Word becoming flesh and the establishment of Jesus’ Mystical Body.
- Before the birth of the Church, the prayer of Church’s Mother is revealed when she is under the cross as well as in the Upper Room.
- Mary and the Church cannot be separated as Mary is the foreshadowing as well as the fulfillment of the Church; the Church is personified in Mary. The whole of the mystery is concentrated in Mary.
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
- Explanation of “apostleship”. Why do the positions of the 12 Apostles no longer exist in today’s church?
- The structure of the modern Church is hierarchical and Episcopal, similar to the structure of the Israelites in the OT.
- The leadership and authority of Peter is clearly portrayed in the Acts.
Acts of the Apostles
The Promise of the Spirit. / The Ascension of Jesus. /
The First Community in Jerusalem. / The Choice of Judas's Successor.
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