The Ascension of the Lord Year A

Sunday May 17, 2026

Traditionally the Ascension of Our Lord was held 40 days after Easter, falling on a Thursday. However in most dioceses in the United States, the observance of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Year A is moved to the following Sunday, superseding the 7th Sunday of Easter.

Mass Readings for the Ascension of the Lord Year A

  • First Reading: Acts 1:1-11 – Luke recounts the events that occurred between Jesus’ resurrection and his ascension. Jesus appeared to his disciples, gave them instructions and promises, and was taken up into heaven while they watched.
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 47 – A psalm of praise and exaltation to God as the king over all the earth. It describes God ascending to his throne amidst shouts of joy and trumpet blasts, and calls on all peoples to clap their hands and sing praises to him. The psalm also highlights God’s reign over the nations and his holy throne.
  • Second Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23 – A prayer from Paul for the Ephesian believers, asking God to give them spiritual wisdom and knowledge so that they may understand the hope and inheritance they have in Christ. Paul also emphasizes the power of God that was revealed when Christ was raised from the dead and exalted to the highest place, above all earthly powers and authorities.
  • Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20 – The resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee. Jesus commissions his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything he has commanded.

Themes for the Ascension of the Lord Year A

The feast of the Ascension of the Lord Year A commemorates the day that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. He also gave the Great Commission, that all of the world should be saved. In the first reading the ascension of Jesus is recounted and the Apostles are told they will receive the Holy Spirit. In the second reading we hear that Jesus Christ rules heaven and earth. And in the gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to preach the Good News to the whole world.

  • The Ascension: The first reading for the Ascension of the Lord Year A tells us that Jesus appeared to his disciples over a period of forty days after his resurrection and taught them about the kingdom of God. Before his ascension, Jesus told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the promised Holy Spirit to come upon them. The second reading speaks of the ascension as an exaltation of Jesus Christ, who is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven, with power and authority over all things, and is a source of hope and enlightenment for believers.
  • The Great Commission: This is a command given by Jesus to his disciples to go out to the world and make disciples of all nations. The Great Commission requires the disciples to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations. This emphasizes the importance of reaching out beyond one’s own community to share the message of Jesus Christ.
  • Evangelism: This is the act of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others. The Great Commission in all three passages emphasizes the importance of evangelism as part of making disciples.
  • Getting out of our comfort zones: Making disciples often requires stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and engaging with people who may have different backgrounds, cultures, or beliefs. This is emphasized in the Great Commission as disciples are called to go out to all nations.
  • Holy Spirit: In the first reading, Jesus tells his disciples that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. The Holy Spirit is also mentioned in the second reading as the source of wisdom and revelation that helps believers understand the hope to which they have been called. In the gospel, Jesus promises to be with his disciples always, even to the end of the age, indicating that his presence will be with them through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is thus a vital component of the Great Commission and evangelism.

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the Ascension of the Lord Year A.

Share the Good News

Resources for the Ascension of the Lord Year A

Superpowers (Courage)

This Superpowers lesson plan highlights the promise of Christ to clothe his disciples with power from on high. In the gospel reading for the Ascension of the Lord Year A, Jesus commands his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they receive the power of the Holy Spirit. This power is what empowers them to be bold witnesses of Christ’s love, despite the risks and challenges they may face.

Litany of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Litany of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is a prayer that calls upon the Holy Spirit to empower and guide us, just as Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his ascension. The prayer asks for various gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as courage, piety, understanding, wisdom, and knowledge.

What Is the Paschal Mystery?

The Paschal Mystery refers to the events surrounding the suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. The Ascension of the Lord Year A reading relates to the Paschal Mystery as it is the final phase of this mystery. Jesus, after rising from the dead, spent forty days with his disciples, teaching and instructing them, before ascending into heaven.

A Prayer to God Who Is Above All

This is a prayer based on Psalm 47, which is the responsorial psalm for the Ascension of the Lord Year A. It echoes the themes of Jesus’ ascension into heaven, his earthly ministry of humility and submission to the Father’s will, and the commissioning of the disciples to be witnesses of his salvation to all nations.

Spreading the Gospel to the Whole World Lesson Plan

This lesson plan and the gospel for the Ascension of the Lord Year A are closely intertwined, as both emphasize the importance of spreading the Gospel to the entire world. The reflection for Catholic youth in this lesson plan explores various methods of sharing the message of salvation with others, aligning with Jesus’ call to spread the good news to all corners of the world.

Homilies and Reflections for the Ascension of the Lord Year A

Sunday May 17, 2026

The Last Words

In this Encountering the Word video for the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Year A, Jeff Cavins reflects on the last command Jesus gave his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew.

At the Right Hand of the Father

A homily for the Ascension of the Lord Year A from Bishop Robert Barron. “This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord, perhaps one of the most misunderstood elements within the Christian narrative. The Ascension does not mean Jesus goes ‘up, up, and away’ as if his presence leaves earth, but rather that he assumes the throne of heaven so as to direct matters here on earth.”

The Good News

A reflection for the Ascension of the Lord Year A from Scott Hahn. “In today’s First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke gives the surprising news that there is more of the story to be told. The story did not end with the empty tomb, or with Jesus’ appearances to the Apostles over the course of forty days. Jesus’ saving work will have a liturgical consummation.” Continue reading.

The Map Comes Full Circle

A homily for the Ascension of the Lord Year A from Fr. Richard Rohr. The one who has come forth from God and then has returned to God. Jesus is the map for human life. We too have come from God and will return to God. Everything in between is a lesson. And we can’t really appreciate presence until we experience absence.

More Thoughts for the Ascension of the Lord Year A

Commission, Power, and Promise

The Ascension of Jesus is a significant event in the Christian faith. As he ascended into heaven, his disciples watched in awe, wondering what would come next. Jesus left them with a command to be his witnesses, spreading the message of salvation to all around them. This command was not only for the disciples but for all believers throughout history, including us today.

The Holy Spirit plays a central role in the Christian faith, empowering and guiding every believer. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples, and he continues to guide and empower us today. The Holy Spirit is not limited to personal transformation, but also equips us to carry out God’s mission in the world. It gives us the strength, wisdom, and gifts we need to serve others, proclaim the gospel message, and work for justice and peace.

The promise of Christ’s return is a central aspect of the Christian belief, bringing hope and joy to believers. Throughout the New Testament, Christ’s return is described as a glorious event that will bring about the final judgment and the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom. As believers, we eagerly anticipate Christ’s return, knowing that our actions and choices in this life impact our eternal destiny.

In summary, the readings for the Ascension of the Lord Year A remind us of our commission to be witnesses of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and the promise of Christ’s return. May we always be faithful to this commission, living in the power of the Holy Spirit and eagerly anticipating the return of our Lord and Savior.

Answering the Call to be Disciple Makers

We believe that Jesus is with us always, even though he has ascended into heaven. This is a comforting thought that reminds us of his continued presence and love for us. The Gospel reading from Matthew also reminds us of our responsibility to make disciples. This task may seem daunting, but Jesus has given us the tools and the example to follow in his footsteps.

To be a disciple maker is more than just quoting Scripture or sharing knowledge about the faith. It involves a deep love for others that is willing to sacrifice for their well-being. Jesus showed us this love by giving up his life on the cross for our salvation. We are called to follow his example by putting the needs of others before our own desires.

Making disciples requires us to step out of our comfort zones and engage with those who may have different beliefs or backgrounds. It is an act of love that seeks to bring others closer to God and share the joy of the Gospel with them. This is not always an easy task, but it is one that is filled with grace and blessings.

The readings for the Ascension of the Lord Year A call us to take on the job title of “Disciple Maker” with humility and faith. We are not alone in this task, as the Holy Spirit guides us and empowers us to share the message of Christ with others. Through prayer, study, and living out our faith in our daily lives, we can become effective disciple makers and fulfill the mission that Jesus gave us.

Reflection Questions for the Ascension of the Lord Year A

Sunday May 17, 2026
  • How do you feel about the commission to be a witness of Christ? Is it something that you take seriously in your daily life?
  • What are some ways that you have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? How has it helped you to serve others and carry out God’s mission?
  • How does the promise of Christ’s return impact your daily life? Does it give you hope and motivation to live out your faith?
  • What does being a disciple maker mean to you? How do you try to embody the love of Christ in your interactions with others?
  • Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone to engage with someone who may have different beliefs or backgrounds? How did that experience impact you and the other person?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the Ascension of the Lord Year A

It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Ascension of the Lord Year A


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