thursday 21 May 2020
THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD
St Christopher Magallanes and his Companions
He was born in Mexico in 1869. He took a special interest in the evangelization of the local indigenous Huichol. Falsely accused, he was arrested and executed without a trial in 1927.
Entrance Antiphon: Acts 1: 11
Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven will return as you saw him go, alleluia.
Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Acts 1:1-11
In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’ As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’
R/ God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
- All peoples, clap your hands, cry to God with shouts of joy! For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear, great king over all the earth.
- God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast. Sing praise for God, sing praise, sing praise to our king, sing praise.
- God is king of all the earth, sing praise with all your skill. God is king over the nations; God reigns on his holy throne.
Second reading: Ephesians 1:17-23
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. This you can tell from the strength of his power at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make him sit at his right hand, in heaven, far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named not only in this age but also in the age to come. He has put all things under his feet and made him, as the ruler of everything, the head of the Church; which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation.
Gospel Acclamation: Mt 28:19,20
Alleluia, alleluia! Go, make disciples of all the nations. I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’
Prayer over the Offerings
We offer sacrifice now in supplication, O Lord, to honour the wondrous Ascension of your Son: grant, we pray, that through this most holy exchange we, too, may rise up to the heavenly realms. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Mt 28: 20
Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age, alleluia.
Prayer after Communion
Almighty ever-living God, who allow those on earth to celebrate divine mysteries, grant, we pray, that Christian hope may draw us onward to where our nature is united with you. Through Christ our Lord.
Today being the feast of the Ascension, we reflect on the great commission of Jesus to his apostles. The passage of today contains the final instructive words of Jesus to His Church. Though the commission is given to the disciples there present, it equally applies to us today. We are called by Jesus to make disciples of all people, to go out into the world and teach and live the truth of the cross of redemption. To be baptised is to show our commitment to the Lord and to his call. We might like to reflect on the following questions: what did my baptism mean to me? Was it a social act I accepted because I had to do? Was it because my parents wanted me to? Or because I identified with the Lord and so freely chose it? When someone becomes a Christian, he is to follow the ways of the Lord Jesus. Being a Christian means accepting that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is always with us and will never leave us. This is a sign of his deity and it is a comfort to know that Jesus is always with us. He will never forsake us no matter what the situation is.