Readings and Reflection for Thursday May 26, The Ascension of the Lord (Solemnity)


“As they were looking on, he was lifted up.”
The beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:1-11)

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptised with water, but before many days you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM   Psalm 47:2-3.6-7.8-9 (R. 6)
R/. God has gone up with shouts of joy.
The Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
Or: Alleluia.

All peoples, clap your hands.
Cry to God with shouts of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
the great king over all the earth. R/.

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! R/.

God is king of all the earth.
Sing praise with all your skill.
God reigns over the nations.
God sits upon his holy throne. R/.

“He made him sit at his right hand ih the heavenly places.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:17-23)

Brethren: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having  the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which  he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit 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 that which is 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.

The word of the Lord

The following may be used for the second reading instead of the above reading.

“For Christ himself has entered into heaven.”
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23)

For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA Matthew 28: 19a.20b
Alleluia. Go and make disciples of all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, to the close of the age. Alleluia.

“While he blessed them, he was carried up to heaven.”
The conclusion of the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke24:46-53)

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send 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, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

The Gospel of the Lord.

The solemnity of the ascension comes forty day after the resurrection of the Lord. The glory of the ascension of the Lord assures us of eternal glory and, at the same time, it reminds us of the second coming of the Lord. His second coming is to judge the world. As Christ ascends to heaven, our minds are to be on the things of heaven: The practice of virtues, the habit of prayer, the spirit of thanksgiving and forgiveness, etc. a synthesis of all these with the grace of God will make us ready for the second coming of Christ. The Holy Spirit becomes our Comforter and Advocate, reminding us of all that we need to do, and strengthening us to do it. Filled with the spirit of Christ, we will also be able to do what he has done.


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