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The Ascension of the Lord

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

I Confess: 

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

 

Gloria:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, Heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us; You take away the sin of the world, receive our prayer; You are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One; you alone are the Lord. You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God, the Father. Amen

 

Opening Prayer:

Risen and ascended Christ, you surround us with witnesses and send us the Counsellor who opens our minds to understand your teaching. Bless us with such grace that our lives may become a blessing for the world now, and in the age to come. Amen.

 

First 1st Reading: Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So, when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

 

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm: 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.       
R. Alleluia.
 
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise.                      
R. Alleluia.
 
For king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne.                                  
R. Alleluia.

 

Second Reading:  Ephesians 1:17-23

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

 

Alleluia: R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Go and teach all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world.

R. Alleluia, alleluia

 

 

Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

 

Homily:

The feast of the ascension of our Lord fills us with courage and hope that something of our humanity already entered into heaven in the person of Jesus and we are sure to follow Him. The apostles in immediate succession had two great disappointments after being with Jesus for about three years. The first was the death of Jesus and the other the ascension of Jesus after His resurrection.  The separation from their dear friend was unfathomably sorrowful for them. But in truth their teacher promised to send another friend (Holy Spirit) and promised to be with them always. St. Augustine reflects so beautifully on ascension and I have attached here his homily which would help us to meditate on the event.

"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. Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food. Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him?

While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.  He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are sons of God.

So, the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body. Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head." (From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop (Sermo de Ascensione Domini, Mai 98, 1-7: PLS 2, 429-495)

As Jesus went up to heaven He asks us to make oneself His disciple and to make others too His disciples.  His undying promise is “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” We take complete confidence on this great promise and surrender all that we go through and be affirmed that He is with us always. He is with us, are we with Him?

 

Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

 

Prayers of Faithful:

1. For the Church – that all Christian churches will strive towards unity, actively seeking ways to manifest Christ, pray and serve together as one body.                  

Lord hear us.

 2   For those who govern and direct the world’s financial systems – that their hearts may be enlightened, use wisely the power they have to bring health and healing to the poorest of the world’s peoples.                                                                         

Lord hear us.

 3.  For poor nations without adequate health systems – that their governments recognise the importance of providing good health care for all their citizens and that they may be supported by wealthy countries.                                                          

Lord hear us.

 4. That Jesus’ mandate to proclaim the gospel to every creature keep us aware of the effects our words and actions make on our neighbour and bear solid Christian witness.     

Lord hear us.

5    That the Ascension of the Lord bring hope to the sick and that our Lord raise into his Kingdom our beloved dead                                                                             

Lord hear us.

 

            Our father…                         Hail Mary…               Glory Be…

 

Concluding Prayer:

Precious love, your ascended Son promised the gift of holy power. Send your Spirit of revelation and wisdom, that in the blessed freedom of hope, we may witness to the grace of forgiveness and sing songs of joy with the peoples of earth to the One who makes us one body.            

Amen.

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

 


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