Thursday, May 26
Ascension of the Lord – Solemnity
Roman Ordinary calendar
Acts of the Apostles 1,1-11.
In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.”
When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
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.
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.
For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
Letter to the Hebrews 9,24-28.10,19-23.
Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment,
so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.
Therefore, brothers, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary
by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh,
and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,”
let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 24,46-53.
And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”
And (behold) I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them (out) as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them.
As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.
They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.
Reflection for Ascension Thursday
Saint Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)
hermit and missionary in the Sahara
§ 92, Psalm 46 (Méditations on the psalms)
The joy of God’s happiness
God goes up with songs of joy ! The Lord arose with trumpet blast ! (…) Sing praise to our God, sing praise ! Sing praise to our King, sing praise !” (Ps 46:6-7 LXX) (…) The last verses of this psalm apply to joy in the glory of God, in general, and to the Ascension of our Lord in particular: “God ascends with shouts of joy” (…)
May this firm foundation be there on earth and in heaven, immovable with our joy: the happiness that God is God and the delight that our Lord “has risen and will never die again” (Rm 6:9) but is eternally happy ! Thank you, my God, for giving us this unquenchable source of joy, for setting it down in your holy books, the holy liturgy, and for pouring it into our hearts by your grace by making us understand and taste this blessed truth ! How good you are by making us understand by this, even in this world, how to share the happiness of the blessed in heaven according to the measure of our love ! (…)
On earth there are shadows, but may this vision of peace and infinite happiness place a foundation of peace and unchanging happiness in our souls that nothing can take away, for its foundation is eternal. Let sadness come as it must come, Jesus experienced it; but may it only remain at the surface of our souls, may their depths remain unmovably serene like the depth of Jesus’s soul, always united to the Father, always in possession of the beatific vision. We do not have this vision, far from it ! But we have it like the dawn, like the sunrise.