May 17, 2015


May 17, 2015:  Ascension of Our Lord

  • '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)
  • Blue and white in shirt:  "Two men dressed in white stood beside them" (1st reading); Easter season
  • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  "The Lord mounts his throne amid trumpet blasts." (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:  "Live worthy of the 'call' you've received..."  ("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)
  • 'OneLife LA' button:  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God...  ("2nd" reading)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "You'll be baptized with the Holy Spirit, receive power when the Spirit comes" (1st reading); “Make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit" (gospel)

  • O Christ, when you ascended/ Gillette:  tune, lyrics+
Pope Francis
Homily for canonization of SS. Marie-Alphonsine and Mary of Jesus CrucifiedMatthias was chosen to replace Judas to be a witness of the resurrection:  not a job, but service.  Proclaiming the risen Christ is to be carried out in common.  Each Christian is called to be a witness to the resurrection; to do so, we must remain in Christ and his love.  This love shines in Sr. Jeanne Émilie de Villeneuve, who consecrated her life to God and to the poor, sick, imprisoned, and exploited, becoming a sign of the Lord’s merciful love.  Christians live in relationship with the risen Jesus and in it find strength to remain faithful.  Sr. Maria Cristina Brando also abided in love; she was given over to love for the Lord.   From her intimate encounters with the risen Jesus, she received strength to endure suffering and to give herself to many who had wandered from God.

Unity is an essential aspect of our witness. From the love between the Father and the Son, poured into us through the Holy Spirit, our mission and unity draw strength; this love is the source of our joy in following the Lord along the path of poverty, virginity and obedience, and it calls us to contemplative prayer.  Sr. Mariam Baouardy experienced this:  out of her converse with the Spirit, she could counsel others and give clear theological explanations.  Her docility to the Spirit also made her a means of encounter and fellowship with Muslims.  So too, Sr. Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas radiated God's love and was a witness to meekness and unity; she shows the importance of becoming responsible for one another, of serving others.

How do I bear witness to the risen Christ, abide in him, and remain in his love?  Can I “sow” in my family, workplace, and community the seed of unity he bestowed on us by giving us a share in the Trinity's life?
  • 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.
  • Eph 4:1-13  Live worthy of the call you've received, with humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, and peace.  Each of us received grace to equip us for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ....
  • Mk 16:15-20  “Go proclaim the gospel to every creature; whoever believes and is baptized will be saved...  In my name believers will drive out demons, speak new languages, pick up serpents, drink poison without being harmed, and heal the sick.  Then Jesus was taken up into heaven and took his seat at God's right hand.  They preached everywhere; the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through signs.
    • Creighton:  How many times have I felt abandoned by Jesus or wondered what he wanted me to do?  Two messengers asked the disciples, “Why are you looking at the sky?”  They, like the messengers at the empty tomb, seem to be asking, “What are you doing looking here?  Don’t you remember what he told you about the Spirit?”  The Spirit imbues us with the living Jesus beyond the cross, tomb, and blank skies.  “The Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and with ah!  Bright wings” (Hopkins, God's grandeur).  Do I allow the Spirit into my life?  Spirit-laden, may we work together to continue Jesus' work.
      Himmelfahrt Christi
    • One Bread One Body:  When Jesus ascended, he mounted his throne amid shouts of joy, receiving a "prostrate ovation" in recognition that he'd saved the world.  But the apostles had doubts (Mt 28:17):  when he ascended, no one had a new nature, was a child of God, had the Trinity dwelling in him, or had power to make disciples of all nations.  Why would Jesus be acclaimed when he left so much unfinished business?  Because God was about to send the Spirit, Jesus' ascension was well-timed.  In the Spirit, the disciples received a share in God's nature, were dwelling in the Trinity and the Trinity in them, and were made holy, royal, priestly, chosen, and powerful to take the Gospel everywhere.  Pentecost makes Jesus' ascension glorious.
    • Passionist:  Now that we can no longer experience Jesus with our senses, we must relate with the Risen Jesus by faith.  Through the Ascension Jesus becomes accessible to us at all times and places.   St. Paul of the Cross spoke of contacting Jesus in naked faith.   Often we don't feel Jesus' presence but know of it by faith.  “Lord, increase our faith.”
    •  40 is significant in the scriptures:  Moses sought God 40 days in prayer and fasting; the Israelites were in the wilderness 40 years in preparation for entry into the promised land; Elijah fasted 40 days on the way to the mountain of God; and for 40 days Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection to assure them he'd risen and to prepare them to carry on his work.  Jesus' departure and ascension was an end and a beginning for them:  end of his physical presence with them, beginning of his presence with them in the Spirit.  Jesus' last words pointed to their mission to proclaim the good news.  God's love and salvation are for all who will accept it.  Christ gave the great commission to the whole church; we all have a share in the task, and the Spirit helps us....

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