"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68














 
                    

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ascension - solemnity or Readings for Thursday, Sixth week of Easter



 Please note: Many American diocese choose to celebrate the Ascension this upcoming Sunday. In that case you will find the readings for the Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter given after the reflection below.

Ascension of Jesus Christ - Solemnity

        No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven "Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him." Listen to the words of the Apostle: "If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth." For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies. 

The reality of Christ's Ascension is so important that the creeds (the basic statements of belief) of Christianity all affirm, in the words of the Apostles' Creed, that "He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead."  

Christ's bodily Ascension foreshadows our own entrance into Heaven not simply as souls, after our death, but as glorified bodies, after the resurrection of the dead at the Final Judgment. In redeeming mankind, Christ not only offered salvation to our souls but began the restoration of the material world itself to the glory that God intended before Adam's fall.

The Feast of the Ascension marks the beginning of the first novena, or nine days of prayer. Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit to His apostles. Their prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which began on Ascension Thursday, ended with the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, ten days later.

Today, Catholics recall that first novena by praying the Novena to the Holy Ghost between Ascension and Pentecost, asking for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

 

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 294

Reading 1ACTS 18:1-8

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
"Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility. 
From now on I will go to the Gentiles."
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.

The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.

Gospel                                                                                              JN 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples: 
"A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me."
So some of his disciples said to one another,
"What does this mean that he is saying to us,
'A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,'
and 'Because I am going to the Father'?"
So they said, "What is this 'little while' of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means." 
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
"Are you discussing with one another what I said,
'A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me'?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy."    


Saint Augustine




 
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