Saturday, May 31, 2014
7th Sunday of Easter / Solemnity, Ascension of the Lord
[Solemnity, Ascension of the Lord]
Acts 1: 1-11 / Ps 47: 2-3, 6-7, 8-9 (6) / Eph 1: 17-23 / Mt 28: 16-20
First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
In the first part of my work, Theophilus, I wrote of all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he ascended to heaven. But first he had instructed through the Holy Spirit the apostles he had chosen. After his passion, he presented himself to them, giving many signs that he was alive; over a period of forty days he appeared to them and taught them concerning the kingdom of God. Once when he had been eating with them, he told them, "Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the fulfillment of the Father's promise about which I have spoken to you: John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit within a few days." When they had come together, they asked him, "Is it now that you will restore the Kingdom of Israel?" And he answered, "It is not for you to know the time and the steps that the Father has fixed 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, even to the ends of the earth." After Jesus said this, he was taken up before their eyes and a cloud hid him from their sight. While they were still looking up to heaven where he went, suddenly, two men dressed in white stood beside them and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will return in the same way as you have seen him go there."
Second Reading : Ephesians 1: 17-23
May the God of Christ Jesus our Lord, the Father of Glory, reveal himself to you and give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know him. May he enlighten your inner vision, that you may appreciate the things we hope for, since we were called by God. May you know how great is the inheritance, the glory, God sets apart for his saints; may you understand with what extraordinary power he acts in favor of us who believe. He revealed his almighty power in Christ when he raised him from the dead and had him sit at his right hand in heaven, far above all rule, power, authority, dominion, or any other supernatural force that could be named, not only in this world but in the world to come as well. Thus has God put all things under the feet of Christ and set him above all things, as head of the Church which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Gospel: Matthew 28: 16-20
As for the Eleven disciples, they went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had
told them to go. When they saw Jesus, they bowed before him, although some doubted.
Then Jesus approached them and said, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on
earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples from all nations. Baptize them in the Name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to fulfill all that I have
commanded you. I am with you always until the end of this world."
Today's reading is a very moving scene as Jesus bids goodbye to his friends to return to where he truly belongs. Together with this parting are a sending and a promise. "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."
The mission entrusted by Jesus to the disciples to proclaim his love and mercy almost a little over two thousand years ago remains valid today. And if we are to base the number of those who profess to be Christians which stands at about 33% of the total world population of about 7 billion, can we honestly say that we have tried hard enough? In fact, only about one out of six individuals in the world belongs to our Catholic Christian Faith Tradition. There is surely much to be done in order to make Jesus more known. What can we possibly do in order to achieve his desire to proclaim his love and mercy?
It cannot be denied that there are many factors and reasons why Christianity may not have been as inspiring so as to capture the minds and hearts of those searching for meaning and purpose in life. A quick look at the history of our Church would readily reveal the fact that she has experienced so many storms and crises. A major one was the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. And in these past decades, the Church is again in a difficult and trying situation brought about by the sexual scandal causing the Church's loss of credibility and integrity. Moreover, there has been a decreasing proportion between the number of priests and the lay faithful that the latter have not been sufficiently spiritually nourished.
Yet, in all of these upheavals, we have somehow survived. We cannot deny that there is indeed something divine in our faith that no matter what the challenges and trials come our way, we have somehow overcome them.
Such happy survival is truly reflective of the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus that he will be with us until the end of time. Jesus has indeed made good his promise in sending the Holy Spirit who continues to be the driving force in order to lead us back to the right direction amid the twists and turns in life as a community of believers. The presence of the Holy Spirit continues to manifest itself and be felt with the emergence of charismatic groups that have introduced a new way of liturgy where the congregation is more expressive especially with their singing. Moreover, there is the thirst for understanding of Sacred Scriptures with the demand for more Bible classes so that people can become more familiar with God and God's ways. Finally, the effects of the Second Vatican Council are seen in the publication of the New/Revised Code of Canon Law in the early 1980s, the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the 1990s, and most recently, the Third Edition of the Roman Missal.
Jesus may have ascended, but his ties with us did not end. He continues to rely on us to share his concern, love, and mercy with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. May we sustain his mission with utmost generosity and enthusiasm.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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