May 8, 2016

Ascension

May 8, 2016:  Ascension of the Lord

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Pope Francis
Regina cœli: Communicating the Good News:  The Church's fundamental mission is to proclaim the Good News of Christ’s victory over death.  The duty of all the baptized faithful is to make themselves protagonists of that mission.  The [Vatican II] Fathers, reflecting on the Church in the world, understood the importance of communications, which can build bridges among persons, families, social groups, and peoples, both in physical and digital environments.  I hope our way of communicating in the Church will always have a clear Gospel style, a manner that unites truth and mercy.



"Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter":  World Communication Day message:  summary, unabridged

Read
  • Acts 1:1-11  Apostles / Jesus, “Are you going to restore the kingdom now?” / “It's not for you to know, but you'll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you'll be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him.  While they were looking up, two men stood and said, “Why are you standing there?  This Jesus will return.”
  • Ps 47:2-3, 6-9  "God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord."  Shout to God with gladness, for the Lord is king over all the earth!
  • Eph 1:17-23  May God give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know him.  May you be enlightened, that you may know the hope of his call, the riches of his inheritance, and the greatness of his power for us believers, in accord with the might he worked in raising Christ and seating him at his right hand.  God put all things beneath his feet and gave Christ as head of all to his body, the church.
  • Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23  Christ didn't enter into a sanctuary made by hands, but heaven itself, to appear before God on our behalf, not to offer himself repeatedly, as high priests do, but once for all, to take away sin by his sacrifice.  Christ will appear a second time, to bring salvation to those who await him.  Therefore, since we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the way Jesus opened for us, and since we have "a great priest," let us approach with sincerity and trust, sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.  Hold fast to your confession; it gives hope, and he who made the promise is trustworthy.

  • Lk 24:46-53  “It is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all.  You're witnesses of these things.  I'm sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay here until you're clothed with power from on high.”  Then he led them out, blessed them, parted from them, and was taken up to heaven.  They did him homage, then returned to Jerusalem with joy, continually in the temple praising God.
Reflect
    • Creighton:  Today's readings predict the coming of a new age:  the Age of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by new power from God:  “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses... to the ends of the earth.”  ”I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay... until you are clothed with power from on high.”  Paul, who knew what it was like to live without this power, experienced the power first on his way to persecute Christians; he exhorts, "May your hearts be enlightened you may know the hope that belongs to his call, the riches of glory in his inheritance, and the greatness of his power," the Holy Spirit!  Jesus comforts his followers while predicting his departure, “It's better for you that I go:  if I don't, the Advocate won't come to you, but if I go, I'll send him to you.”  Baptismal catechesis proclaims a new birth by water and the Spirit; Confirmation catechesis promises the Spirit to strengthen adult Christians.  Paul enumerates fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; we know the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit:  wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.  We can acknowledge the Spirit's presence intellectually but not identify it in our daily experience.  “Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    • Himmelfahrt Christi
      Stöberl
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Blessed are you":  Jesus ascended "mid-blessing"; the apostles responded "blessing God."  "When he ascended on high, he... gave gifts... that he might fill everyone with his gifts."  When Jesus ascended, he fulfilled the prophecy, "I will bless!"  So "bless the Lord;... bless His holy name."  To receive the blessings of the ascended Christ, devote yourself to prayer.  Worship Christ and pray for a new Pentecost.  Be blessed in him, "be a blessing," and "bless the Lord at all times."
    • Passionist:  Jesus told his disciples he'd return to the Father, and then the Holy Spirit will come to them.  The Ascension fulfills a promise and demonstrates God’s faithfulness.  We hope that when we leave this earth, we'll be in heaven with Jesus.  We're also invited to make an “ascension” in our life now, to come closer to God, to become more faithful disciples of Christ, to “ascend” to holiness.  To do so, we not only need to be mindful of the “things of heaven”; we need to look at what's happening in the world and respond with the love of Jesus Christ.  Each Easter may we enter more deeply into its hope, joy, and peace and come more in touch with its truth and victory.  “Let us approach with a sincere heart and in trust, sprinkled clean,... holding to our confession....”  Let go of whatever takes you away from God.  Reach outside of yourself, lifting others up as you've been lifted up.  Share Easter hope, joy, and love....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "The Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven":  40 is a significant in Scripture:  days of Moses' prayer and fasting, years the Israelites were in the wilderness, days Elijah fasted, days the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples.  Jesus' departure and ascension was the end of his physical presence with his disciples and the beginning of his presence with them through the Spirit.  The Risen Lord reigns from heaven as our Redeemer and King; he intercedes for us and empowers us through the Spirit, giving us new life and strength to carry on his work.  His last words point to the mission he entrusted to his followers:  to be his witnesses so that all may  hear the good news.  He gives us the same power he received when the Spirit anointed him at the beginning of his mission.  The Gospel is God's power to free, heal, and transform.  We're called to be ambassadors for Christ, heralds of the good news, to speak on his behalf and bring others into a personal encounter with him.  The risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Spirit....
    Dress legend
    • 'Hot air balloons' tie:  "Jesus has been taken up into heaven and will return the same way." (1st reading)
    • Blue in shirt:  "John baptized with water..." (1st reading)
    • White in shirt:  "Two men dressed in white stood beside them" (1st reading); Easter season
    • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  "A blare of trumpets for the Lord" (psalm)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is king over all the earth  (psalm)
    • 'Owl' tie pin:  "May God give you a Spirit of wisdom" (2nd reading)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  "May you know the hope that belongs to God's call" (2nd reading)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  Christ didn't enter into a sanctuary made by hands (2nd reading)
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin, 'hearts' suspenders:  "They were looking at the sky" (1st reading); "May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened" (2nd reading)
    • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "You'll be baptized with the Holy Spirit, receive power when the Spirit comes" (1st reading); "I'm sending the promise of my Father upon you” (gospel)